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James Jacobs wrote:
This was disappointing to hear, I must admit. I really enjoyed the rule set and that style of play. May we know the reasons behind why you would not wish to do another mythic PC Adventure Path?
I thought I'd take a moment to give my specific thoughts on the psychic-only spells in the playtest.
Mind Thrust: Unfortunately made necessary, if only because it's the only way to deal hit point damage at most spell levels. Otherwise, it's just second class damage for most of its lifespan. Not multi-targeting, it's mind-affecting- pretty weak stuff for damage dealing when benchmarked against what sorcerers get at similar spell levels.
Ego Whip: At 6th level, would I take Ego Whip I, or would I take Haste or Slow? No question in my mind that Ego Whip is not a compelling offering at levels where it becomes available. Benchmarked against a comparable sorcerer, would I rather have Ego Whip to stagger a single enemy for a single round, or Stinking Cloud to nauseate multiple enemies simultaneously for rnd/lvl? Or use Dazing Spell metamagic with a fireball at higher levels? The choice is, again, unfortunately clear. My suggestion: Make it a swift action spell.
Id Insinuate: Would I rather take Id Insinuate, or Confusion at 8th? Clearly, a spell that affects an indeterminate amount of enemies in a radius for rnd/lvl is superior to a concentration only effect that hits a single foe. Id Insinuate becomes a bit more compelling at higher levels, because of multi-targeting and because of favorable confusion rolls- but I'd have to think very hard about taking the spell if I had Confusion in my spells known list in order to stretch my meagre spells known resources. My suggestion: Make it a swift action spell.
Psychic Crush: Here's something worthwhile to take. A real save-or-die spell. I really like this beast at higher levels- and frankly, it replaces Mind Thrust at those levels. Finally, here is something where I can't point at the sor/wiz list and go "why would I ever want to take this, given the alternatives?"
Thought Shield: I like the immediate action to use, but the difficulty is the extreme situational nature of the spell. Within its narrow niche, effective. I would perhaps take this as a late-level pick for its spell level, otherwise I'd give it a pass.
Mental Barrier: These are great spells. Immediate action to cast, very high bonuses to AC. What's not to love here? Here's another spell I'd take over some comparable offerings at their levels.
Intellect Fortress: Another suite of spells that are difficult to recommend. Very situational and specialized: an area-affect thought shield. Deals only with mind-affecting effects. The Immediate action to use is its major saving grace. As with thought shield, I would perhaps save it only for a late-level pick at its spell level.
Tower of Iron Will: As with intellect fortress and thought shield, these are very situational and difficult to recommend without a heavily psychic campaign. Immediate action to use is good. Perhaps a late-level pick- but by the time you get access to these, you are already at late levels. So probably would get a pass from me entirely.
Where is Psychic Blast, by the way, if we're adhering to the 10 classic modes? Mind Blank is in the list.
I think that these spells, in general, suffer from a spell-list comparables problem wherein the spell does not match favorably with other spells available at that level. I'd keep current with Mind Thrust, but only because I am pretty much forced to- where else is my damage dealing capability? And I'd keep current with Psychic Crush, because that's a bone fide nasty spell. Mental Barrier is also strong, but I'd probably give the rest of these spells a miss due to weaksauce problems.
That brings me to a crucial point- how exactly is the psychic supposed to deal damage? The psychic cannot deal area damage at all, and only weak single-target damage. I don't know of too many other classes in the entire game so entirely dependent on the presence of party members who can actually kill monsters. Obviously Pathfinder is a team game, but must I point out the incongruity of a 20th level psychic that sadly got locked in a room by himself and eaten by that mindless dung beetle?
I am of a mind with TwoWolves here; I think the class should emphasize the classic 5 attack forms/5 defense forms more. As it is, the psychic can't really indulge himself with all of them without giving up a lot else. Since the psychic doesn't really have any other way of dealing damage, these should be gratis.
I have to agree with a lot of other posters as well, regarding the bland nature of the class. It really feels like this guy came out half-baked. I'd like to send it back to the kitchen for some more critical thought about how this class can be made to be more original/standout and also effective in a variety of situations.
My general comment:
The psychic doesn't have many options for, well, actually hurting things in combat. Inconveniencing them mightily? Yes. Controlling them? Yes. Confusing them? Of course.
But beyond magic missile and a few save-or-die spells scattered throughout, you've got the mind-affecting only mind thrust and psychic crush lines of spells with which to actually put hurt on an opponent, and these are limited to single target and look a bit weaksauce to boot.
This is probably intended as part of the class design (otherwise why not just play a sorcerer). However, my opinion is that it'd be good to have some sort of general self-defense setup for this class.
Put this guy and a skeleton in a room by themselves together, and the psychic is going to have to bust out his belt knife and go chipping away to survive.
Another point of opinion:
This guy looks way too much like the sorcerer to be a distinct base class. Make a "psychic" bloodline, slap int-attribute casting on it, and what's really so very different here?
In Golarion, how does a character end up as an Arcanist, as opposed to a Wizard?
Is the character born an Arcanist, ala the sorcerer, or does the character decide to go to "Arcanist school" instead of "Wizard school"? The "born arcanist" vs. the "learned arcanist" hypothesis.
Or does a character initially show up for Wizard school only to find out that he tends to cast spells a different way, thereby becoming an Arcanist? Like finding out you're left-handed when the teacher sticks the pen in your right hand.
These burning questions await illumination.
The Arcanist Occultist archetype obsoletes the Conjurer Wizard summoner. It has 9 levels of casting and standard-action summons (that's unbelievably huge!). Unless you're playing the Conjurer Wizard for the non-summon spells, then I'd go with the Arcanist Occultist without further thought. Frankly otherwise, I would have little use for the Arcanist as a class in comparison with the wizard.
Since the devs have unofficially ruled (through con panel) the Summoner and related archetypes "broken" in anticipation of the Pathfinder Unchained rework, I'd say that the Arcanist Occultist is currently the strongest summoning class in pathfinder today.
My hopes for the Summoner revamp:
1.) That Thing from Beyond is one of the base types of Outsider we can summon.
No, an arcanist is definitely not stronger than a wizard.
The wizard gets a substantial amount of spells of the next highest level for 40% of levels. Another 50% of levels, they share the same highest spell level...but the wizard is strictly better at spellcasting in the sense that all the wizard has to do to equal the arcanist is to memorize the same spell N times. That's because the arcanist can only memorize 1 spell of his highest spell level 1-18.
Also, if the wizard is a specialist and has the bonded item feature as well as competitive INT, the wizard typically can cast 4 spells at the highest spell level the level he receives it.
All the hype about the arcanist is hype. All the arcanist has is an extra bag of miscellaneous tricks. He won't keep up with a well-designed wizard.
Wait, I thought there were four, including Aroden, who got there by the Starstone and two who got there by other means, including Nethys not in your list.
Anyway, I wasn't trying to strong arm a sweeping ruling from you, just trying to cadge a cool story idea from the creator of the setting.
After all, while deciding story for GMs may not be interesting, providing creative suggestions can be.
James Jacobs wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Ok, so given there is no directly efficient route within the setting, if my wizard wanted to become a deity, what would he likely be trying to do to achieve said goal?
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Hey, I have another question about the demon binder. Does the demon binder continue to have access to the Summon Monster I-IX spell-like ability? If so, since the demon binder no longer has an eidolon feature, does that mean that the SMI-IX SLA can be active simultaneously with the bound demon, or should this restriction be applied there as well?
Thanks for the mechanics support.
What is the ethnic breakdown of cosmopolitan Nex?
Is it an even mixture of Garundi, Keleshites, and Vudrani, or mostly Garundi?
Is there a sizable population of Avistani peoples living there? For instance, would a Taldan character be commonly found in Nex?
Does there exist any information about this?
A few questions on the theme of ascending to divinity on Golarion.
1.) Must a mortal be Mythic before attaining the godhead? Or can one skip to the end, so to speak?
2.) Is there, or could there be an alchemical means of divine ascension?
3.) Excepting the Starstone and being born a godling, what are a few cool ways for mortals to become Gods?
My thanks for your cosmic wisdom.
I'm running a Conjurer Wizard in the Varisia region. I need a mythic source for my mythic ascension. I've bought Mythic Origins and Mythic Realms, and none of those mythic wellsprings presented are quite doing it for me for a variety of reasons.
Could you see your way clear to suggest a couple of Golarion based, thematically appropriate mythic sources that would work well for a Conjurer Wizard in Varisia? In particular, it's an infernal binder (Academae).
Dear James Jacobs,
About how many magical universities exist in Quantium? The source material seems to indicate several, not just one monolithic "Quantium Arcane University".
Along a similar line of questioning: could Taldanes and other Avistani peoples, for instance, be regularly found as students at Quantium magical universities, or would such mage apprentices in the main be Garundi, Kelishites and Vudrans?
Certainly, we could use a bigger buffet of NEUTRAL outsiders, even TRUE NEUTRAL outsiders. Currently, my neutral conjurer has the option of summoning sugar 'n spice 'n everything nice angels, or fart-stink devil beasts that make the party Paladin look at you a little funny.
I guess I can do elementals.
Evil can play at the same table as good with zero problems. As long as the evil character is into teamwork with all the rest of the players and doesn't break the fun by ruining somebody else's fun, there's nothing wrong when a character's motivation is "rule personal empire with a tyrannical fist" rather than "feed and clothe poor orphans."
When you start sticking your Pathfinder knife into somebody else's PC's back, it stops being fun. Don't do it. That's the GM's prerogative, and you're crossing the line with your gaming group. Instead, stick your character's knife into an NPC gnome. I hear that they make great steaks.
For the other arcane classes, it seems pretty clear: wizards are made, sorcerers are born. Witches are pretty much made, by a pact; magi are made; alchemists are made.
It's not clear how summoners get to become summoners. Let's examine the data that could point us in one direction or another.
1.) They cast spontaneously, using CHA as a major stat. That seems analogous to a sorcerer, who we know are born.
2.) On the other hand, they are very analogous to the Bard class, who study at bardic colleges and such and are therefore made. They also cast spontaneously, using CHA.
Has there been any consensus on how a summoner goes about becoming a summoner? For instance, does one find an arcane ritual in a library and use it to summon an eidolon which then imbues you with arcane power? Or are you born and your eidolon appears to you as a baby?
I'd ask James Jacobs, but he hates summoners and I'd probably get a snarky answer. I like them, so I'm hoping there's some info out there to guide character background.
Dear James Jacobs,
I have a question about inner sea ethnicity and phenotype.
Currently, all described ethnicities in the Inner Sea World Guide are said to have dark hair and dark eyes with the singular exception of the Ulfen (with blond/red hair and blue eyes.) The baseline inner sea inhabitant as described seems overwhelmingly likely to be brown haired with brown eyes.
Does this imply that if a PC were to be described as blond haired, it would follow that they are almost certainly an Ulfen? Or is a broad range of phenotypes possible in the other ethnicities, such that it would be patently unremarkable to find a blond Taldan or a blue eyed Chelaxian?
Thanks for clarification. I have a player who is having a hard time finding the right ethnicity to describe a character who is "Northern European" in conception without channeling a Nordic vibe.
Dear James Jacobs,
In Golarion, does becoming a mythic character always require some sort of external agency or event as portrayed in the material? Or could a character become mythic in the setting by dint of their own volition and efforts?
Seems somewhat personally unsatisfying to at all times require some sort of Deus ex Machina in order to attain mythic ascension.
After all, some characters (e.g. sorcerers, oracles, clerics) seem to fit well with an externalist trope, while others (e.g. wizards, monks) might go well with a sort of self-deterministic origin story, in effect studying or meditating their way to superhuman stature.
Thanks for your take.
I'm not arguing intent, I'm only saying that's how they wrote it. I don't care if it's weird or not. Frankly, both interpretations are quite weird; one's obscenely overpowered, and the other one interacts in strange ways.
I am not. Strictly following wording, there is no clause that reduces casting the spell to swift action, only adding the capability to cast one spell without losing the slot. Read what you yourself quoted. It says, "As a swift action, you can expend one use of mythic power to cast any one arcane spell without expending a prepared spell or spell slot."
Under your interpretation, it should have been worded:
"You can expend one use of mythic power to cast any one arcane spell as a swift action without expending a prepared spell or spell slot."
Then we would have been left wondering what action is used to spend the mythic point.
Seems clear to me.
I should also mention in terms of the spirit of the thing that arguing for an Archmage to be able to sling a spell-slotless, quickened, unprepared spell of maximum castable level every round said Archmage has a mythic point available is busted to the maximals.
I'm only talking about the rules verbiage under the Archmage section. Not trying to imply or infer any parallels when there might not be any intended.
It says you can expend one point of mythic power, using a swift action, to be able to cast the spell without losing the slot. The distinction is crucial. It does not say that the casting time for the spell is shortened to a swift action.
It's pretty clear that you spend the mythic point and swift action to potentiate your ability to cast the spell under the given conditions- nowhere does it say that casting the spell only requires a swift action.
You pay the swift action/mythic point, then the standard action for a standard action spell.
Dear James Jacobs,
As the author of the "Cults of the Dark Tapestry" article in Pathfinder #42, how would you go about mechanically representing cultists/wizards of the Old Cults at your table with regards to the use of Planar Binding/Planar Ally style spells?
For instance, a Cultist of Azathoth casts Planar Ally- I'm having a hard time finding creatures in the Bestiary that are thematically Mythos and yet can meet the mechanical requirements of the spell (Outsider, not Aberration). Similarly for the archetypal wizard who "knows things that man was not meant to know" and his/her Planar Binding spell.
Ditto for cultists and their Summon Monster spell line- it seems odd for the cultists to be summoning Fiends and Demons rather than Mythos entities. Can you recommend a patch-over for this?
Thanks for any advice.
I actually had no preconceived answer to the question. I'm also getting the notion that there are no rules to the situation. Sounds like the answer IS: DM's discretion.
I'm sorry if this questions is answered elsewhere; I couldn't find an answer easily with the search function.
I posit a scenario:
Round 1, my wizard uses a 1-round casting time to cast his Summon Monster (X) spell.
Round 2, my Summon Monster(s) appear and act on the same initiative count as me.
I choose to use my standard action to cast Haste on my Summon Monster(s) during Round 2. According to the text, the Summon Monster(s) are acting simultaneously as me; they (all) choose full-attack actions.
The question is simple:
On Round 2, do the Summon Monster(s) gain the benefit of the Haste spell? Or only Round 3 forward?
Perhaps simply a flat bonus to hit and damage with the existing summon lists to keep them relevant, a certain flat bump per tier using a mythic summon spell. You already have the mythic augment summons feat giving your summon epic dr; now you simply need some additional hit bonus and you're good to go. I'm not thinking you even need any additional damage to maintain relevance.
It's clear that a Summon Monster/Ally mythic spell that adds Mythic Tier in some multiple to the Summons List available is in order, to a max of the SM/SNA IX list. It will cost a mythic point as an action investment, which is fair. Certainly an easy fix to keep summons relevant. Also, let the archmage have a mighty summons path ability along with the hierophant.
Summons seem popular enough that some specific attention might want to be paid to them lest the hordes of summoner gamers not want to play Mythic.
Arcane summoners (conjurer wizards, summoners) exist, are popular, and would benefit topically from the Mighty Summons ability. It doesn't seem to make sense to restrict this ability to Hierophants and divine casters only. Please cross-post this ability to the Archmage path as well.
Question: Does mighty summoning stack with superior summons (i.e. 1d3 beasts of level -1 list, +1 superior summoning, +1 might summons)?
I'm not sure I agree with everything you say, really. In almost all games I've played in, killing monsters and exploring dungeons -is- the game. Sure, there's the hardcore RP game here and there, but I try to avoid THOSE people...=) Wizards are potent battlefield controllers, truth undisputable. However, they have few ways of actually KILLING the monsters efficiently, which is the stripped-out, bare-bones point of the game! I won't argue that they don't soften up the battlefield considerably at times. However, the monsters still have to be made dead and wizards, clerics, sorcerers, oracles... and all these so-called "Tier 1s" do don't do that very well (unless you're a monster summoner, that changes things, in my experience.)
When I played my high-damage alchemist or summoner, I had as much fun as the wizard. I killed the monster quickly, he inconvenienced them mightily. We both felt pretty cool. I didn't feel on a "Tier 3" compared to his "Tier 1". I think the Tiers of Power are advertising that the wizard is just simply -better- in pathfinder play, and that's in my real, at-a-table play experience just not the case.
To speak to the poster below you, I'll buy that argument regarding said interpretation of "Tiers of Utility" or "Tiers of I Wrecked the DMs Inept, Level-Inappropriate Dungeon Building". Full casters can sure ruin a DM's carefully plotted scenario with their massive utility breadbasket of spells. However, that's the DM's burden to address, and therefore counter or complement their versatility in a tactful and fun way. It's not a bug, it's a feature.
In summary - I feel plenty overpowered by 1-round smoking things at equal CR. I certainly don't feel overshadowed by my wizard debuffer buddy. Don't take that to mean that I think the alchemist is better than the wizard, but I think they coexist fine and perform nonoverlapping functions during encounters. It's just this implicit hierarchy of "power" I think is just not at all true.
I have to admit, I simply design a natural-attack based Eidolon strictly adhering to the rules and getting level-appropriate loot and buffs, and I can mow down an equal-CR monster built according to the standard monster building table stats in under 1 round on average levels 1-20 with a full-attack action.
And I'm not even a particularly sophisticated optimizer. The GM will have to throw my Eidolon an even-CR monster every encounter on top of what he already had planned just to keep him occupied for a round eating its guts out.
I also admit I can build an Alchemist that can do the same (albeit with a little more effort) leveraging infusion/bottled ally (preservationist) for monsters to hand out to my friends and my bombs.
One thing I don't understand is this "Tiers of Power" thing. Everybody says full casters are the most powerful characters. They are certainly the most versatile, but in a real dungeon-delving game, you know, around a table with people fighting DM-run monsters...the summoner's standard-issue Eidolon puts the fancy wizard to shame by chipper-shredding the encounter before it starts.
I'd put the high-damage classes such as Summoner, Alchemist, Druid and Magus near Tier I on a REAL Tiers of Power list. They mow encounters before the other PCs can even do a thing.
To the Point: the DM can nullify the Eidolon by increasing the level of difficulty of the encounters enough to give everybody something to do. Simple and straightforward. If I were DMing, I'd add another monster of even-CR just because an Eidolon is with the party.
Hypothetically, pretend I have a wizard, with the Old Cults faction affiliation. One of the faction affiliation benefits is use of the Planar Binding spell to summon up some member of the Dark Tapestry/Mythos-related monsters to interact with. In addition, the wizard himself has access to the planar binding spell.
My conundrum is that there are no available monsters that are both Dark Tapestry-related in the bestiaries and have the requisite outsider status allowing them to be brought forth by a planar binding spell, Old Cults related or not.
Is there an accepted monster list for this concept? Is there a supplement detailing alternative monsters that could be used by the Planar Binding line in this play situation?
This also impacts the Dark Tapestry oracle, which gets access to Planar Binding as a bonus spell, ostensibly to bind some Dark Tapestry horrors, but who has nothing thematic to bind.
I'm not sure whether this is the appropriate forum for this question, if not, I apologize- I considered it Golarion Dark Tapestry Conjurer specific.
Is there going to be support for the alchemist? Given the six mythic archetypes, I'm having trouble seeing where the alchemist actually fits in there.
Kinda a spellcaster, not really an archmage, not a hierophant...but not a warden, champion, trickster or marshal either. Sure, you can probably shoehorn the alchemist into one or more of those paths, but none seem to follow as a natural progression, as does archmage from wizard/sorc, hierophant from cleric/oracle, warden/champion from fighter/ranger/barb, marshal from bard/cavalier, trickster from rogue.
Hard to see where alchemist thematically fits here. Hope it isn't left out.
Put "The Test of the Starstone" in the Mythic Adventures book. Let there be an outlet for Mythic Characters who want to become Gods, Demiurges, and etc.
Beyond that, provide some guidelines/quests for methods of achieving eternal transcendence beyond simply riding the Starstone; e.g. Divine fiat, magical spell (ala Nethys), profane snuggling with the Outer Gods.
Stuff like that.
I could really use some Epic Content (and some Psionics.)
Both those systems are what I enjoy most, and while I really think Paizo's level of intricacy, creative imagination and detail is heads-and-shoulders superior to a nameless market competitor, the lack of epic rules (and psionics) is making it hard for this customer to make the change over to what is obviously a superior designed product.
I'm one of those (apparently rare) gamers that starts the campaign at level 15ish and wants to play into the high-level/epic area. From my perspective, I'm looking at a game that, no matter how cunningly crafted, is simply incomplete. My group just ain't into gritty goblin-whacking and death-by-housecat. The wizard wants to cast that Inflict Volcano spell from the Netheril boxed set and the barbarian wants to eat up an orc horde at Thermopylae.
PLEASE don't make us wait 2 years+ for Epic (and psionic, just throwing it out there) rules!
I'll stop swimming! It's my version of holding my breath!