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Madge Blossomheart

Gwen Smith's page

FullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle. 809 posts (846 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.


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Akerlof wrote:
Mercurial wrote:


One of the things I try to take into account (and all that formula may have) is how likely I am to hit an equivalent level foe. If my attack bonus is so high that it's all but guaranteed, PA seems a better choice than if I'm struggling to hit. In this case I find a properly built DD to have a well above average chance to hit, especially once I start including magical gear.

In my back of the envelope calculations, the Dervish Dancer was hitting on a 6 at level 4 verses a CR 6 monster (with Heroism and Battle Dance being your only non-permanent buffs). The primary attacks at level 8 were hitting the median CR 10 monster on a 4 or better (assuming Heroism, Haste, and Cat's Grace or a +4 Dex belt.) That drops to a 7 at level 4 and a 6 at level 8 with Power Attack.

Just a note on the assumptions:

This is a PFS character, so you have to watch out for fame limitations on purchases: You won't be able to buy a +2 belt until you have 18 fame, which is tight at level 4 (you have to hit all secondary success conditions on 9 scenarios and play no modules). It's more likely to have the fame for a 16K item at 8th level.

Also, at some point you'll have to pick up a headband of charisma if you want to cast any spells above 2nd level.

When I'm doing damage calculations, I usually run the numbers for unbuffed, one round of buffs, and fully buffed to compare them. If you only want to do one set of calculations, I'd assume one round of buffs, on average.

From a logical perspective, there is no way an arrow will ever fit in something the length of your forearm: by definition, arrows have to be the full length of your arm plus at least 3-4 inches. Any shorter, and they won't stay in the bow when you draw it. A crossbow bolt will fit OK, but arrows for longbows and shortbows just...can't. However, by RAW it's allowed, so we'll just have to ignore that.

My first question would be how big are the hooks on the grappling arrow? There's no picture in Ultimate Equipment, so that's going to be up to the GM, I guess. Given that a traditional arrow shaft is around 1/3", and a broadhead point is about 1 inch across, I'd estimate that 5 arrows would need a space about 3.5 to 4 inches in circumference (minimum 1 inch diameter). I think it's reasonable to say that the top of a grappling arrow could fit in that.

The rope gets tricky. Rope comes in different diameters, but based on the weight, I'd say a Pathfinder hemp rope is around 3/4" thick (10 lbs for 50 feet = about 3 oz per foot. Comparing the weight of the cotton rope (from the same site), I'd guess silk rope would be between 1/2" and 5/8". So you could fit no more than 6 "lengths" of rope in the 4 inch circumference forearm is about 10 inches long, so that would give you 60 inches of rope or 5 feet. Even with a 1/4" circumference rope, you'd max out around 10 feet.

As for whether you could shoot it from your wrist: almost certainly not. Any spring with that much "firing power" would always overshoot your hand or perhaps damage your hand from the force.

You could put a grappling arrow in spring loaded wrist sheath, with no more than 10 feet of silk rope. You could not shoot it from the sheath.

However, I would treat a grappling arrow in your quiver as a regular arrow, so you could pull out a grappling arrow as part of the action of drawing your bow. So I don't know why you ever want to put it in a wrist sheath.

bbangerter wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Therefore, 'grappled creatures can take no action that requires two hands to perform' could be understood to apply to non-humanoids in the form 'grappled creatures can take no action that requires two (or more) limbs to perform'.
That is one way of reading it, but not the only way. The other way to read it is that one of your hands/limbs/tentacles is unavailable. In a bipedal viewpoint the two ways of reading it are equivalent. For a more than two armed creature than you need to decide which viewpoint makes the most sense for your game.

There is nothing in the description of grappling in the game or examples of grappling in the real world that says you have to immobilize an arm (I've seen a lot of wrestlers and MMA fighters grapple by grabbing the legs) or any limb at all (I've seen my mother grapple an out-of-control student quite effectively by grabbing a handful of hair, and that "ear pull" that you see in old TV shows still works even though teachers aren't allowed to use it anymore).

There are thousands of methods of grappling in the real world, from submission holds to bear hugs to grabbing clothing to sitting on someone's back. Restricting a grapple to "must grab a limb" seems pretty unnatural. I can't imagine how I would ever catch my cat if I were forced to grab a limb.

(Side note: anyone who doesn't believe an animal gets all of its natural attacks while grappled is welcome to come over to my house and give said cat a bath. I'll even supply the bandages.)

Mercurial wrote:

Maybe something like this? Here I'm taking Weaponmaster at levels 5, 6, 7 & 12.

1st - Dervish Dance
1st - Arcane Strike
3rd - Power Attack
5th - Paired Opportunists
5th - Broken Wing Gambit
6th - Combat Reflexes
7th - Lunge
9th - Weapon Focus: Scimitar
11th - Discordant Voice
12th - Weapon Specialization: Scimitar

Did we ever figure out if Discordant Voice stacked if more than one person is using it? If so I'd stick with the above, but if not, I might be more inclined to make those last two feats:

11th - Improved Critical
12th - Seize the Moment

Seize the Moment would really make those other Teamwork feats come together and taking Improved Critical probably means I can afford another enhancement on my weapon other than Keen... not that I'm likely to do a lot of post-12th level play.

Looking at the wording on Discordant Voice, I don't think it would stack with itself. It says that it stacks with other energy damage the weapon does: I read that to mean that if your weapon normally does sonic damage, this would add to it.

I like Seize the Moment--that would work out better for you than Outflank, probably. (Our teamwork characters had rogue levels, so we were already all about the flanking, anyway.)

Another thing to check out is Oil of Bless Weapon: it lets you auto confirm a crit threat against evil foes, but this can't be used with Keen. With Improved Critical, though, auto-confirming crits is really handy.

I'm not a big fan of Lunge. I really, really want to like it, but it doesn't continue through to your AoOs, which makes it only half as useful, to me. You might want to look at using Enlarge Person to extend your reach and your flanking/adjacent squares. Enlarge isn't as good on a Dex-based character, though, and I think Enlarge Person doesn't work on an Aasimar, so it might not be the best option for you. (Although you could use it and switch to a great sword or earthbreaker: 15 str, 3d6, and 1.5x STR and Power Attack would make a nice backup option if your scimitar is not working for some reason, like DR bludgeoning or high hardness or something.)

If your main focus is a self-buffing melee character, I would consider front-loading the fighter levels, like 1-2 Bard, 3-7 Weapon Master, then back to Bard. You get you BAB up earlier, and the 4 levels of Weapon Master get you a total of +2 attack/+3 damage. If you want the spells earlier, then keep it the way you have it. (I also like to line up odd/even fighter levels with odd/even character levels, so I tend to switch every two levels when I multiclass fighter. That's just personal preference, though, so I get the feat every level.)

Also, remember that you can adjust your plan as you go, too.

Kyle Elliott wrote:
instead of power attack consider the dex based version, pirahna strike. I believe it is still legal for use in PFS.

Doesn't work with a scimitar, unfortunately, so Dervish Dancers can't use it. :-(

The Swashbuckler from the Advanced Class has some tricks that could work with a scimitar, but you'll want to wait until the final version of the book comes out.

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I'm a big fan of teamwork characters! This sounds like a lot of fun.

A couple of thoughts:
1) You have until August 14 to get one chronicle applied to an aasimar character; if you can do that, it's grandfathered in. So you might be able to do it as a aasimar.

2) Power Attack is not as effective with one-handed weapons, and with Dervish Dance, you can only use one hand on the scimitar. If there's another feat you were looking at, it might be a good idea to switch it out. Also, you might consider lowering your strength and use the points in CHA so you can get spells higher than 2nd level. (Assuming you only took 13 STR to get Power Attack; if you wanted the 13 STR for something else, never mind.) :-)

3) I'd actually recommend getting Precise Strike earlier. At lower levels, you'll fight more enemies who are susceptible to precision damage than at higher levels.

4) If you're going to stick with scimitar, you might consider the Weapon Master archetype instead of Lore Warden. (You already have all the knowledge skills from your bard levels, and you're not using Combat Expertise as a pre-requisite that I can see.) If you go three levels in Weapon Master, you can get Weapon Training (+1 attack and damage, untyped); you can then pick up Gloves of Dueling to boost that to +3 attack and damage.

5) Paired Opportunists doesn't usually work with Precise Strike or Outflank: one is adjacent, the other two are flanking. (If you pick up Gang Up, though, you might be able to pull it off, but that takes a 13 Int and another cooperating player. Might not be worth it.) You might check out Escape Route as an replacement for Paired Opportunists.

My husband and I ran teamwork characters with Outflank. Combined with Keen (or Improved Critical) to make the threat range 15-20, this turned out to be really effective.

Wiggz wrote:
Ryzoken wrote:
EDIT: a quick search (amazing function that!) indicates it all works.

Alright, bear with me...

At 4th level or somewhere thereafter, I meet the pre-requisite of 4 ranks in Dance and sacrifice one of my 2nd level spells known. In return I get the Masterpiece Pageant of the Peacock.

This ability allows me to make a Bluff check in place of any Intelligence-based check, although (we think) I'd still have to have at least 1 rank in the various Knowledges, Spellcraft or Linguistics to be able to make the check as they can't be performed untrained. It also grants +4 to Bluff checks and presumably these mechanics work together.

Next, I take advantage of Versatile Performance to replace that Bluff check with a Sing or Comedy check, holding on to that +4 bonus because its really still a Bluff which is actually something else entirely.

So through song and dance (or sarcasm) I'm able to fake Knowledge, Spellcraft and Linguistics ability except that the information gained is completely real, and I do all of that as a standard action and for the cost of 1 round of Bardic Performance which in turn grants the ability for 10 minutes.

Is that about it?

You'll want to double check the wording on both of those abilities. There have been several threads about whether this kind of "double replacement" would work, and there hasn't been a consensus one way or the other.

For PFS, I always caution players about relying too much on any gray areas or rules questions. Since you don't choose your GM (and might not even know who it's going to be), you might not always be able to use that ability. If it's a bonus trick or side feature, no big deal. Just don't make a questionable area central to your build, or you could end up with a useless character half the time. Which sucks.

(And make sure you get your aasimar at least one chronicle sheet before August 14.)

Trekkie90909 wrote:
While each attack individually only requires one hand, the "Full Attack Action" requires both to be effective; grapple states "grappled creature can take no action which requires 2 hands to perform." So no, you would not be able to use TWF + associated feats.

So a can monk flurry with two unarmed strikes, right? Neither one requires the hands at all.

And then could the same monk flurry with one weapon and one unarmed strike? Only one hand is full, so this should still be fine.

But then, why can't he flurry with two one-handed weapons? The action is exactly the same, they all take a full attack action, but this one is not valid?

What if I use a one-handed weapon and a boot blade or armor spikes or a spiked helmet? None of those take up a "hand" so they should be OK, right?

What about a cestus or a spiked gauntlet? They are on the hand, but I can still carry and wield other weapons in that hand, so...?

Lamontius wrote:

Other advice:

1. Remember, you count for providing a flank and get the +2 flanking bonus to your attack roll for your Grapple Combat Maneuver, so pay attention to positioning.

Most creatures who are grappling/grappled can't make AoOs, which usually means they don't count as "threatening" for purposes of flanking. (There's table variation here, but most PFS GMs I know run this way.) Starting at 4th level, the Tetori monk can make AoOs while grappling/grappled, so the monk counts as threatening and can flank.

My favorite use of grapple is to shut down spell casters.

RaizielDragon wrote:
3) Grapple attempts gain bonuses that apply to attack rolls; does this have to be generic attack bonuses, or can it also be attack bonuses applied to Unarmed Strike attacks? For example, would Weapon Focus (Unarmed Strike) also give a +1 to Grapple attempts, in addition to +1 to attack rolls with Unarmed Strike? What about an Amulet of Mighty Fists +1-5? Would that give a corresponding bonus to Grapple attempts, or only to attack/damage rolls for Unarmed Strike attacks?

Since you can actually take "Weapon Focus: Grapple", I would say that "Weapon Focus: Unarmed strike" would not apply, even if you are using an unarmed strike. If you are using some other weapon that you can grapple with (say, a whip or spiked chain), then weapon focus with that weapon would apply when you use it to initiate a grapple.

If you go with Cleric, the Varisien Pilgrim archetype has some interesting options: you can give allies your domain abilities.

Cavalier is a good martial support character, especially with the Order of the Dragon. (I have a Halfling Honor Guard cavalier with Blundering Defense and Bodyguard. She's an AC buffer who can increase an ally's AC up to 11 points against a single attack.)

Bards of course are the original support build, and probably still the best overall. Bard/Cavalier is a nice combo, and it's a good lead-in to Battle Herald if you want to go that router.

The Monk Sensei archetype is nice, also, but it doesn't get really cool until 6th level when you can start loaning out your ki powers.

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David Neilson wrote:
I would think ghost touch. It is admittedly not always useful, but when it is you feel so grateful.

Ghost Salt weapon blanch is much more cost effective.

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wraithstrike wrote:

If the feat said you did full damage using your off hand in a manner that did not specifically call out strength I would agree, but because it does, the answer is no. I don't think it is broken, and I would probably even allow it, but I don't think it is supported by RAW. RAI, it can't really be proven.

As an example if I use intelligence to boost my acrobatics check, and there is another ability that says to add +5 to any ability roll modified by dex then I can't use it. The reason is that dex is not the qualifying attribute anymore. Now if there is another ability that says add +5 to any ability modified by intelligence I could use that because intelligence is now modifying the acrobatics check.

I agree with this as far as it goes, but I don't this is an exact analogy. In this example the bonus is to "any dex check", not "to Acrobatics. Double Slice only affects your strength damage on your off-hand weapon, and Agile only replaces str on weapon damage.

This situation is more like an ability that says "when you make an Acrobatics roll, treat your Dex modifier as 4 higher." Now, if you replace Dex with Int, do you still get the bonus? Does "your Dex modifier" mean "your Dex modifier (or whatever other stat you happen to be using for Acrobatics rolls)" or "your Dex modifier (and only your Dex modifier, and if you use another stat for Acrobatics, then it sucks to be you)"?

It's a similar situation, I think, to spells that say "use your Wisdom to attack" or "add your Wisdom modifier to damage" because it was originally designed for clerics. If another class with a different spell casting stat gets access to that ability, does the other class use their primary spell casting stat or are they just stuck with Wisdom? Based on this FAQ, they are just stuck with Wisdom, but it also says "it's a perfectly reasonable house rule" to use the primary casting stat. It just seems like a very thin line between "perfectly reasonable house rule" and "table variation."

I suspect this issue probable falls on that same line.

Well, it doesn't specifically say "use half damage on off hand weapons". It just says "reduced for off hand weapons". Because of that, I would say that they mean "apply the normal reduction for off hand weapons here." Otherwise, by RAW, we don't know how much to reduce the damage by, which doesn't make a lot of sense.

Because of that, I would argue that Double Slice removes/changes the normal reduction for off-hand weapons, and therefore would apply to Agile weapons and the Dex bonus. Otherwise, you end up with convoluted issues of "Do I add Str and Dex?" and such, usually, the rules aren't intended to that bizarre. I would allow it, and I could probably convince most GMs I know to do so, also.

Now, Power Attack's damage is always halved on off-hand weapons, even if you have Double Slice. So is Piranha Strike. Most of the time, a TWF is just better off without these two feats because of that.

Round 2
Dejik moves along the wall, trying to dodge attacks from the two vultures beside her. Keep talking, so I know where you are!
Acrobatics vs. triangle: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Acrobatics vs. plain: 1d20 + 3 - 2 ⇒ (7) + 3 - 2 = 8
If she takes damage from the attacks, she'll use lay on hands as a swift action:
lay on hands: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

Oletko loukkaantunut, "serkku"?

Badly accented Hallit:
Are you hurt, "cousin"?

As a standard action, Dejik forms a Life Link with Sarkast.

Rudy2 wrote:
If you feel that strongly about Improved Precise Shot, then I can see your argument. I've never found that feat needed myself as long as your party members aren't stupid.

It also lets you ignore concealment. No miss chance is a huge boost to overall damage.

And there are a lot of sources of cover besides your party members, like other bad guys, standing behind something, being partially immersed in water, etc.

Under strict cover rules, ranged attackers end up dealing with soft cover (-4) most of the time. Less strict GMs might take that down to partial cover (-2), but perfectly clear shots are rare.

Rudy2 wrote:
1) 2 less on attack rolls, one from lower BAB, one from lack of weapon training

When flurrying, you don't have a lower BAB. Your monk levels count as your BAB on a flurry. And until you actually have Manyshot, you're better off flurrying.

Rudy2 wrote:
3) Can't qualify for Manyshot, Snap Shot OR Clustered Shots until level 8, and so won't get them until level 9. At that point, has to choose between them.

Why not take one as your level 2 fighter bonus feat?

Adaptive is a must-have for any archer.

Personally, I like Designating: each time you hit, your allies get +2 attack and damage (morale) for 1 round. A Zen Archer can usually hit once a round, so this becomes a really nice party buff. Greater Designating increases this bonus to +4.

I agree that Seeking is overrated: once you have Improved Precise Shot, you really only have to worry about invisible opponents, and there are better ways around that.

Planar is nice: it only reduces DR by 5, but it works on any outsider. Combine that with Clustered Shots, and you should be holding up nicely against any elemental, demon, devil, angel, or whatever.

Hello, this is Sarkast's wife.

I've been fighting fires at work this week, so I'm finally getting a chance to introduce myself!

I have a couple of different characters I've been playing with, and I'd love to hear people's thoughts on them.

1) A local Mendevian crusader/archer (paladin, Divine Hunter archetype) who was severely injured and blinded in the initial attack. She's been using her lay on hands to help other survivors but feels completely useless otherwise. After a day or so, she started to have an innate sense of her surroundings, and her healing abilities were amplified (Clouded vision Oracle, Life mystery). Her primary tactic right now is to use Life Link to absorb damage from her allies, then Lay on Hands to heal herself as a swift action. As her Oracle levels increase, she'll pick up Selective Channeling. Concept-wise, this is the most interesting, but multiclassing with the Oracle's curse and slow spell progression means she won't be as useful to the party overall. (I could do this same concept as a warpriest instead of a paladin, but I need to see if the Advanced Class Guide is OK.)

2) A wandering cleric of Gozreh who was given a dream about the attack and instructed to go join the fight: The demons present such a great threat to the balance of nature that even the true neutral deities feel compelled to interfere. She would primarily a buff and survival cleric: she has the Growth and Seasons domains with the Varisien Pilgrim archetype, which lets her give her domain powers to her allies, the main one being "Enlarge yourself as a swift action." I'm also toying with more "normal" Varisien pilgrim clerics (Travel, Luck, or Liberation domains), if something like that would be more useful.

3) A local cleric who usually tends to the needs of the crusaders near the front line, and came to Kenabres to help after the attack. She would have more direct support domains like Heroism, Defense, Good, or Restoration. She would buff the party members, align weapons, etc. (I'd like her to get the Bless Equipment feat at 5th level, if Inner Sea Gods is OK.)

All of these would go the Hierophant mythic path, and they'd have very few skills. They'd be mostly combat support and in-combat healing, but they'd also have some social skills and could provide long-term care.

What do you think?

FLite wrote:

Andrew, see my post above. Quickdraw shield only works to move the shield from your arm to your back and vice versa. Blinkback belt only works for items hung on the belt.

My theory is that the shield seemed balanced when they wrote it. For 50 gp, you get an add on that lets you sacrifice some of your AC to make a free ranged throwing attack. (and it takes three move actions (move to shield, retrieve shield, don shield to get it back)

They didn't think about how that interacted with other rules elements and could be exploited to get endless free attacks.

I think they just didn't notice the misplaced modifier. That's a very common writing error, right up there with dangling modifiers. ("As a registered nurse, your editorial was offensive." The editorial is a registered nurse? Really?)

Also, this shield was designed for Performance combat, which has a different set of rules than normal combat. I suppose a GM could just rule that if you're not using Performance combat rules, this item doesn't work at all.

Generally, "bonus on attack" means just the attack roll. They almost always say "bonus on attack and damage" when they mean both.

On the plus side, this looks like an untyped bonus to attack, so that makes it stack with everything.

Artoo wrote:
Belafon wrote:
This shield is designed for throwing and has specially designed straps that allow you to unclasp and throw it as a free action. Tower shields cannot be throwing shields. Neither a shield’s enhancement bonus to AC nor its shield spikes apply on your attack or damage rolls. A throwing shield can’t be disarmed.
People are reading that as "throwing the shield is a free action."
What other way is there to read that?

How about this:

"Throw" is not an attack, so you can throw the shield to the ground or throw it to a friend or just throw it around the battlefield, but you can't throw it at someone and make an attack roll against them.

When reading the (yes, poorly written) text, you have three choices:
1) If you apply the adverbial phrase "as a free action" to "throw", then it doesn't modify "unclasp"--and we don't know what kind of action is it to unclasp the shield. ("Removing a shield from your arm and dropping it is only a move action," so I'd go with that.) In this case, the player will never get to use this trick as part of a full attack action, so it will stop being useful around level 6.

2) If the phrase modifies "unclasp", then "throw" is a standard action, as already defined under the thrown weapons rules. ("Throwing a light or one-handed weapon is a standard action, while throwing a two-handed weapon is a full-round action.")

3) If the phrase modifies both verbs, then you have to treat "unclasp and throw" as a combined action that can never be separated. So you could never throw the shield unless you started with it clasped--if you pick it up from the ground, you have to put it back on before you can unclasp and throw it. Also, for the first time I've ever seen, we now have two actions combined into a single free action.

Of these three options, number 2 makes the most sense.

However, if you are going to go with number 3 and read it at "throw the shield as an attack as a free action", then don't forget that this shield is an exotic weapon--you need a feat to use it. Also, you still take the penalties for taking an extra attack with a second weapon, and you can't use a two-handed weapon for your other attack (per the armor spikes ruling).

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Sammy T wrote:

I would forgo using or handing out the 'lure' letter Jorsal hands out.


While flavorful, it is chockful of red herrings. Omar. Pulura. (Another) farm. In a scenario full of false rumors, there is absolutely no need to confuse the investigations any further.

D'oh! That's what I get for answering message boards at work.

Omar should be Otto--that's intended to tie the original Pathfinder team to Otto's farm, the scene of the first murder.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

We run PFS games all weekend at NorWesCon. This past year we were upstairs in the bar, running morning, afternoon, and evening slots.

We also run PFS scenarios at DragonFlight, and we do demos at EmeraldCity ComicCon, PAX, and GeekGirlCon.

Check out for all of the goings-on in the Puget Sound and surrounding areas.

I did vanilla fighter with 1 level of barbarian. With furious wakazashis, Improved Critical, and Outflank (teamwork feat), she did 4 attacks a round at 15-20 crit threat, and every time she scored a critical hit, her partner (rogue based) took an AoO on the target.

For extra fun, she and her partner used a wand or oil of Bless Weapon: you auto-confirm critical threats against evil foes.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

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The letters are really good. I have a couple of suggestions in bold. (I can work on getting them into graphic format this weekend--work exploded in my face this week.)

Doug Miles wrote:

I'm working on the 3rd letter, but wanted to post this for critique:

Jorsal of Lauterbury at the Starrise Spire:
Greetings! While on an urgent errand I passed through a backwater thorp called Dawnton. By chance I met a farmer named Omar who was showing off a strange stone idol he claimed to have found on his property. Like many in your organization I have an interest in history and forgotten lore. Several features of this relic led me to believe it represented Pulura, an empyreal lord venerated ages ago in these parts. When I asked the man where he found it, he said that he had uncovered it while digging a root cellar into a hillside on his property. He mentioned there were larger pieces of worked stone there, too heavy to move in their current state but covered in strange writing. It distresses me to think about this simple farmer breaking up pieces of Sarkorian history to build a fieldstone wall. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I must not linger here in Mendev. I thought you might be able to investigate this matter—hopefully before the site is despoiled. I prefer to remain anonymous at this time. Again, the situation is complicated. Perhaps my loss will be your gain?
My regards, -A Traveler

Pathfinders of Nerosyan,
I pray to The Dawnflower that this missive finds you before all hope is lost. Today is the 14th day of Erastus. A party of Pathfinders arrived in Dawnton two days ago. Last night they were placed under arrest for committing two heinous murders. They have already been convicted and are sentenced to hang at dawn twelve days hence. Tensions are high since the fall of Kenabres, and I believe their trial was rushed and the verdict is unjust. Although my conscience moves my hand to scribe this note, I fear too much to share my identity. Come fast if you would save your friends!

In the second note, I wanted to include the idea that the writer believed they were innocent, both to encourage Jorsal to send the team and to make the handwriting comparison more compelling evidence for the defense.

What do you think?

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Check out the slow burn arrow--that might get the effect you're looking for.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

I did a several hours of prep work and notes, and I was still tripped by several details running this.

1) The Pathfinders are accused of two murders; both my husband and I missed that when we prepped the scenario.

2) There is no information on the victims, and that's a piece that players are going to try to investigate.

3) What's the name of the third Pathfinder? Corwin Burke (race=?), Dakota Spire (race=dwarf), and ??

4) It's not clear whether the evidence for the prosecution is actually correct. For example, the prosecution says the Pathfinders were seen at the farm several hours before the murders, but there's no indication why they there or who saw them, and the Pathfinders don't provide any more information in the interview. Also, it's not clear whether the dagger at the second murder actually belonged to Dakota Spire ("it fits in the sheath"), and the interview doesn't say whether Dakota Spire admitted owning it, noticed it was missing, etc. I went with "Yes, it was mine" and "I didn't notice it was gone until they arrested us."

5) The timeline for the fall of the Kenabres is confused. That was during the Third Crusade, but Ekira was around for it. Later, it says Tobias fought in the Fourth Crusade 15 years ago, which would make the Third Crusade more than 15 years old. I'll go through the Inner Sea Guide and see if I can get a firmer handle on this.

6) The letters to VC Jorsal get confused. In the briefing, he hands the PCs a letter saying there is a ruin to investigate. Later, the scenario refers to the letter informing Jorsal that the Pathfinders would be executed. I went with the briefing version and assumed Tobias informed Jorsal of the impending execution. (Neither of these letters is provided as a handout, nor is the anonymous letter accusing the Pathfinders. I'll try to mock up handouts for these this week.)

7) Jorsal provides the PCs with mounts, but there's no livery stable in town. I added one next to the inn.

8) We are told that Ekira has strayed from the teachings of Iomedae, but we don't have specifics on what she is doing wrong or what the correct version of those teachings is.

9) The text says that Tobias is "soft" and implies that he doesn't want to execute the Pathfinders, but one of the true rumors says he wants to see them hang. I made that rumor about Ekira instead of Tobias.

10) I wasn't sure whether the town size spending limit should be based on the Dawnton's normal size or its current size.

Overall though, it was a lot of fun, and I had a really good group when I ran it.

My group's tactics:
My group threw scenario completely off the rails. One PC was an inquisitor of Damirak, Empyreal Lord of lawful executions, and actually had "Profession (Executioner)." He offered his services to the mayor to perform the execution, then couched any investigation as "I just have to double check, because my god demands that I verify everything is in order before I kill them." He told Ekira that he was really happy to see her involved in the case, because her training gave him a lot of confidence that the case was handled correctly.

The rest of the PCs, meanwhile, took the tactic of "We were in the area and heard you were going to have an execution. We love a good execution!" Since there were already a bunch of "execution tourists" in town, the PCs didn't stand out much. Any time they talked to someone about the execution, they were downright eager ("We want to make sure we get good seats!" and "If they behead them, we'll need to get tarps for the splash zone."). Questions about the Pathfinders guilt were couched as concern that the execution might not take place. One of the PCs was a tiefling with a hat of disguise, and he (quite coincidently) felt like changing his appearance at each location.

They actually got a lot of the evidence before they hit 5 on the opposition track, and they went looking for Dalton before he started asking around about them.

Like I said, completely off the rails.

If you do decide to go for the Barbarian, check out the Sea Reaver archetype. Being able to ignore cover penalties for creates in the water is very, very helpful.

The Freebooter Ranger archetype is one of my favorites. Ranger might be a good "jack of all trades" to bring in some martial capabilities but not be just a fighter.

Also, pick up Profession (Sailor) and Knowledge (Geography). There is also a lot of useful "ship's gear" in the Pirate of the Inner Sea book.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

In Temple District, B2, there's a note: "Cold iron magic weapons deal an additional 2 points of damage to duergar."

Is this in general, or just those weapons that were blessed by Torag in this encounter?

Archaeik wrote:
Now, I find it reasonably clear that it doesn't include TWF or Rapid Shot, but FoB can be made using a single weapon, which muddies the "as if a full attack" for me, as anyone who could flurry with the gun probably would.

How do you propose to flurry with a gun? It's not a monk weapon, and I'm not aware of any deity with "gun" as a favored weapon...

If you're thinking Sohei archetype, you'll have to get 6 levels in Monk and then 7 in Gunslinger...

Unless I'm reading the deed wrong, Clustered Shots gets you the same basic effect, doesn't it?

James Risner wrote:
Jay the Madman wrote:
You can't jump over impediments as part of a charge.


Janni Rush lets you jump as part of a charge (3rd in Style chain)

Technically, Janni Rush doesn't say you can do that. Janni Rush lets you do extra damage when you do that.

Janni Rush:
Further, if you jump as part of a charge and make an unarmed strike against the designated opponent, a hit allows you to roll the unarmed strike’s damage dice twice and add the results together before adding modifiers (such as from Strength) or extra dice (such as precision-based damage or dice from weapon abilities). The extra damage dice are not multiplied on a successful critical hit.

(Emphasis mine)

Notice that it does not say "You can jump as part of a charge" or have the note "Normal: you cannot jump as part of a charge." This implies that you can jump as part of a charge, or else this feat is not very useful.

The velociraptor has an ability called "Leaping Charge":

Leaping Charge:
A velociraptor can jump while charging, allowing it to ignore difficult terrain when it charges. When a velociraptor makes a charge in this way, it deals double damage with its talons.

This clearly implies that other creatures cannot jump while charging.

It will all come down to whether your GM puts more faith in Bestiary 4 or Ultimate Combat, so expect table variation.

I think more GMs will rule that you cannot jump as part of a charge. Some GMs might rule that Janni Rush still does not let you do it.

One of the GMs in our area came up with a compromise position: if you cannot fail the Acrobatics check (even if you roll a 1), then you can jump on the charge. The reasoning is that since you can't possibly fail the check to jump over the object, it doesn't really present any "obstacle" to you.

Keep in mind you can take Extra Rage multiple times.

There's also an alchemical "remedy" that gives you essentially +1 round of rage per day: Barbarian chew. Stains your teeth, though...

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Mike Shel wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:

On the throneroom map, what's the rise between each "step"?

There are stairs to each layer, so I'm guessing it's probably 10 feet, but it could easily be higher. (The side view doesn't have any scale on it, and it's not the same size as the top view so...not assuming anything.)

I'd like to get it clarified because we have several leaping characters in our area (blame Tony for that one)...

Five feet.

Ah, ok. That makes more sense. The description mentioned "step pyramid", and my brain went straight to "Chichen Itza."

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

On the throneroom map, what's the rise between each "step"?

There are stairs to each layer, so I'm guessing it's probably 10 feet, but it could easily be higher. (The side view doesn't have any scale on it, and it's not the same size as the top view so...not assuming anything.)

I'd like to get it clarified because we have several leaping characters in our area (blame Tony for that one)...

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

kinevon wrote:

@Matthew: Maybe some faction missions were fun, but as a PFS GM during the time when they were required for that second PP, or even both PP, many of them just left a foul taste in my mouth, both as GM and player.

Either they were too spoilery, or to inconsequential, or too insifgnificant, to bother with.

I have, literally, gotten a faction mission which was to kill the BBEG of the scenario. And that is supposed to enhance my feel for my faction?

And, also, missions to, say, recover a tea set, or draw a star map? Meh.

And the chaos! In early season scenarios, with faction missions, all the "Are we there yet?" stuff? Sigh. Makes GMing more difficult, for most of it.

And, of course, those self-same spoilers. The omniscient gfaction heads, who tell you to look for X item, or Y creature. Where knwoing such a creature is likely to appear means you go shopping for creature-appropriate weapons or bribes? Again, meh.

I always loved the ones where the faction leaders seemed to know that the investigation would eventually lead to the library, and oh, while you're there...

I've had players stop me halfway through a scenario and ask, "Wait, aren't we supposed to go to some Wizard's Academy or something?" or (less spoilerish) "Did you give me the right faction mission?"

I got to the point where I held back some faction missions because they were too spoilerish. At the beginning of the scenario. I just told the players they would be getting faction missions later on. Then, after the scenario naturally got to the point where the faction mission made sense, a messenger came up to the character and slipped them a note.

Imbicatus wrote:

It depends on what else you have.

Reach Weapon? Worth it.
Combat Patrol? Worth it.
Improved Snap Shot? Worth it.
Greater Trip? Worth it.
Normal non-reach weapon without any supporting feats? Not needed.

Bodyguard? Worth it.

Aid another is most useful for skill checks, true, but anytime you don't have the correct answer to overcome a creature's DR, you're probably better off aiding the guy who does. For example, a rogue against something immune to precision damage could contribute more DPR to the party by increasing the fighter's chance to hit or preventing the barbarian from getting hit.

Unarmed strike-based characters against anything that causes damage when you touch it or ranged characters against someone with protection from arrows, missile deflection, et al: pick up your backup melee weapon and help. I know you're not optimized to use a club or a quarterstaff, but you only have to hit AC 10.

Of course, there are also traits that increase your aid bonus to 3 or 4 (for halflings).

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Dylos wrote:

Think about it this way, if Player A is being a jerk, and Player B decides that he will fix the issue himself rather then go to the GM with his concerns and disables Player A's character. Many different things could happen here, including but not limited to a physical confrontation from Player A, an in character confrontation from a third player who is friends with Player A, or even the GM deciding that Player B has become evil and is removed from the campaign.

The thing is, the other players, and the GM may not feel that Player A is being a jerk, and you don't want to take the possibility of making yourself out to be the villain. If you don't like the way that the GM handles the jerk player, after the game is up you can take it up with the store, organizer, or someone else as well, but remember as I said before, the one who retaliates is often the one noticed.

I have faced this exact situation.

I was GMing a game in another city. One of the players had a reputation of causing trouble for the party, e.g., going off by himself and getting caught by the bad guys or the local authorities, playing with unknown magic items and blowing up the party, trying to pick fights with venture captains/faction leaders, trying to kill an NPC the party was supposed to protect, etc. He was apparently responsible for several character deaths and caused the party to fail the mission on multiple occasions.

Yes, the kid was a very difficult player and needed a lot of GM attention/intervention, but as an out of towner, I hadn't seen any of the previous problems. All I saw was everyone else at the table watching this kid like jailers, "vetoing" everything he wanted to do or saying, "You will NOT do that--I won't let you." The other players were actually threatening PVP based on previous experience ("Oh, crap, he's leaving the party--he's going to get us killed again!"), but to me, all he was doing was going off by himself.

I hadn't seen any behavior from the kid that warranted this kind of response, and I was on the verge of having to punish the other players based on what I saw at the table. Fortunately, we managed to get things under control and finish the game, but it was an eye-opening experience.

Readied actions don't follow the same rules as AoOs, really. They are similar, but not identical.

AoOs are provoked by a specific set of actions. These actions always provoke (barring special abilities), and the game rules say these actions are resolved before the action that triggers. And AoOs are "free" attacks. So the sequence is:
Character 1 declares a provoking action.
Character 2 takes an AoO.
Character 1 actually takes the provoking action (if still able).

Readied actions are specific, standard actions that you "hold in reserve" for a specific trigger. Basically, you sacrifice your regular turn for the advantage of being able to interrupt someone else's action.
So "If an orc comes into the room, I will shoot it" resolves as:
Orc opens the door.
Orc walks into the room as a move action.
The instant the orc steps in the first square inside the room, your readied action is triggered, and you shoot it.
The orc continues his movement.

It doesn't matter how many feet of movement the orc took to get into the room: the instant the orc is actually in the room, your readied action goes off.

One reason it feels like you're going before the orc is that you move your place in the initiative order to right before him (because there is no way to be "in the middle of his turn" in initiative order). But your action actually interrupts his turn.

So if you really want to "trip lock" someone, you can ready an action to trip someone "as soon as they finish standing up":
Character 1 declares that they will stand up (provoking action).
Any AoOs are resolved.
Character 1 actually stands up (completes the move action).
The instant Character 1 is standing, your readied actions is triggered, and you trip him.

Note that in order to do this, you are not taking any actions on your turn: you just stand there and wait for the guy to stand up. If the guy doesn't actually stand up, your readied action is wasted, and you go back into your original initiative order.

But it all depends on how you word your trigger. So, for instance, a smart player will say "I ready an action to hit him as soon as he starts to cast a spell" rather than "I ready to hit him if he casts a spell": in the second instance, a mean GM could easily interpret your trigger to be "as soon as he has finished casting his spell", which is kind of pointless.

Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:

Yay my computer works again. Time to post a new list based on OP feedback.

Knight's Pennon- Battle- 4,500g

Just out of curiosity, how are you using the Knight's Pennon with a longbow?

PRD wrote:
This narrow cloth flag is made to attach to the end a knight's lance, though it can be flown from a spear, polearm, or even a staff. It has no effect if not mounted appropriately.

As a GM (and an ex-SCA archer), I wouldn't let you attach that to a bow--it would seriously get in your way. Most GMs I've had would at the very least give you a partial cover or soft cover penalty.

Is there some way you can wield a pennon when your hands are otherwise occupied?

Stiletto wrote:

Oh, I'm looking at the Advanced Class Guide Swashbuckler playtest. It must be different.


It is different. During the playtest, we usually read that as "a light weapon or a one-handed piercing weapon" (which matches the Duelist weapon restrictions).

The revised guide should be out after GenCon, though, so it might be completely different at the end of the summer.

Don't forget that you can't sneak attack if the target has concealment.

At low levels, this is usually dim light*, fog, rain, or spells like Obscuring Mist. At higher levels, this includes Blur, Displacement, etc.

Also, precision damage (like sneak attack) is not multiplied on a critical hit. That makes a huge difference.

*If your Rogue has darkvision, dim light doesn't apply.

Eigengrau wrote:
Sucks about the Zen Archer. I'd go Ranger-Guide 2/Slayer 3/Fighter-Archer 5 then. As a Swift & Move action when you come upon an enemy you'd be able to do +3 hit/damage against it. Get some Gloves of Dueling and be at another +3 hit/damage w/bows.

I tend to shy away from the Archer archetype. By the time you get trick shots, CMDs are so high that they are almost pointless. More importantly, you trade out Weapon Training, and it's really up to your GM whether to allow Gloves of Dueling to work with Expert Archer.

The Weapon Master archetype is pretty nice for a specialist, and you get Weapon Training at 3rd level.

I second the half-orc, though. There's also a half orc alternate racial trait that gives you 90 ft of darkvision, which is really nice when you have 110 ft range increment.

CraziFuzzy wrote:
Maybe a wizard, sorcerer, or magus dip to qualify for arcane archer. Without that, archers kind of hit a damage cap around 7th or 8th level.

I wasn't that impressed with Arcane Archer when I first looked at it; I might have to give it another check.

The expanded archery feats and magic items do a lot to overcome the old damage caps, though. Deadly Aim scales up by level at the same rate as Power Attack, and Clustered Shots lets you total all your hits from the round before adding DR. Adaptive lets you use Bull's Strength as a buff (or rage, if you want to take a barbarian levels) without switching weapons. (I have an archer with a barbarian dip who took Scent as a rage power. If she hits with a Pheromone Arrow first, then when she rages, all of her attacks get a total of +2 attack/+4 damage.)

A straight fighter archer can use Weapon Specialization/Greater Weapon Specialization and Weapon Training with Gloves of Dueling. At 12th level, assuming 18 Dex, 16 Str, a +1 bow, and no other buffs, that works out to about:

+17(x2 for Manyshot)/+17/+12/+7 for 1d8+20, crits on a 20 for x3
Against a 21 AC, that averages about 94.3 Damage Per Round.
If you stay within 30 feet and use Point Blank Shot, your attack and damage both go up by 1, which ups your average to about 105.2 DPR. Bracers of Falcon's Aim kick that up to 122.4 DPR.

That stacks up pretty well against an unbuffed, 20-Str Earth breaker wielder with the same basic feat set (swap Improved Crit for Manyshot). The two-hander does about
+20/+15/+10, for 2d6+30, crits on a 19-20 for x3
Against the same 21 AC, that averages to about 97.7 DPR.

The archer's extra 2 attacks a round make up for the lower damage per hit. Considering that Clustered Shots lets you total the damage up before applying DR, your archer should be pretty darn effective, overall. Also, since you have the advantage of range, you're likely to get full attacks more often than a melee fighter. (Just make sure to pick up Improved Precise Shot as soon as possible to counteract cover and concealment.)


Here's the breakout, if anyone cares:
+4 Dex
+2 Weapon focus, Greater Weapon focus
+4 Weapon training + Gloves of Dueling
+1 Bow
-2 Rapid Shot
-4 Deadly Aim
+5 to BAB (+12/+7/+2)
+1 Point blank shot
+1 Bracers of Falcon's Aim

+3 STR
+4 Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Specialization
+4 Weapon training + Gloves of Dueling
+8 Deadly Aim
+1 bow
+20 Damage
+1 Point blank shot

(Bracers of Falcon's Aim make the crit threat 19-20)

(Note: 21 AC was what was in my Damage Calculator already--no particular reason for choosing that other than laziness.)

These are my standard recommendations (in order):
1) Get Adaptive on your longbow. That way your strength can adjust (buffed or damaged), and your bow adjusts along with it.

2) If you're allowed to use the alchemical arrows from the Elves of Golarion book, I highly recommend them. My archers stock up on Durable Arrows with cold iron tips. If anyone if the party has an animal companion with Scent, pick up some Pheromone Arrows for +2 attack and damage.

3) Get weapon blanches: you can get cold iron, silver, adamantine, and ghost salt. These are especially necessary if you can't use durable arrows to get special materials on the tips.

4) If you have Use Magic Device, a wand of Gravity Bow might be worth it.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Prethen wrote:

Whereas I totally understand it's not PFS legal to change anything as written, as a new GM, I do see the breakdown of this inflexibility in certain situations. All too often, mostly as a player and sometimes as a GM, I see the PC's easily overwhelm a scenario and the GM's hands are tied to add any extra challenge to it. Also, I could understand a reason for this inflexibility can easily be explained since how could you just let GM's randomly modify what's written and still have it as legal play.

It would be neat if Paizo could come up with some sort of system/way to allow the tweaking of the challenge levels in a consistent manner, especially for older seasons to ramp up the challenge level a bit. Not all scenarios need this.

I realize this is pie-in-the-sky. The alternative is simply to only play GM post-third season stuff (which I've still seen scenarios that haven't exactly challenged the party).

The more books that Paizo comes out with to do even more power tweaks to PC's (traits, magic items, feats) presents ever more overwhelming party potential.

Some players think it's fun to overwhelm ("break") a scenario. When that happens with me, I find it dissatisfying and even a bit turned off.

I get that players (even me!) like to optimize their characters to the hilt. With that ever increasing power, there should be some flexible system, if necessary (and agreeable to all?) for the GM to mitigate that type of party power dynamic in a scenario.

They did include some leeway to make specific adjustments in the Guide to Organized Play, version 5.0 (page 32):


However, if the actions of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should consider whether changing these would provide a more enjoyable play experience.

Additionally, the GM may consider utilizing terrain and environmental conditions when those effects have been written into the flavor of a scenario but the mechanics that are normally associated with them by the Core Rulebook have not been added to the encounters.

This came up in another discussion, and almost half of the GMs present didn't realize this text was in the Guide.

There's the feat Cosmopolitan. Aside from Alexander's recommendations on traits, that's the only way I know of.

Actually, not all maneuvers are the same. Some maneuvers have size limitations, so you can't trip someone two sizes larger than you, regardless of your CMB.

Also, there are feats for different maneuevers. For example, there's a Celestial Obedience feat for Felayna (Empyreal Lord from Chronicles of the Righteous) that gives you +4 sacred bonus to CMB for grappling and to CMD overall. It doesn't apply to any other maneuver.

You can take Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus for Grapple, also, which is +1 per feat. You can't take these feats for other maneuvers.

As far as what will be enough, that really depends on your target. Size penalties and bonuses are exponential, so grappling Tiny or smaller creatures is really easy. Gargantuan or Colossal creatures, not so much. At 3rd level, my Halfling tetori monk has a +12 CMB to grapple, and she seems to do OK.

Also, note that Grab usually has a size limitation on it, while Grapple does not. So a Small creature can theoretically Grapple a Huge creature, but it can't Grab the same creature. As a GM, I would say that if you can't Grab the creature because of size limitations, you lose the +4 bonus from having Grab. (Although Grab might have different wording depending on the source, so it could matter where you're getting your Grab from.)

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Some people mentioned that 7-player tables are a aberration and shouldn't be considered. That is region dependent. One of our stores recently reduced the number of tables they could give us from 4 and occasionally 5 down to 3. Even when we're lucky enough to find an off-site option for a 4th table, we have 1-2 tables with 7 players every week. I imagine we're not the only region with this kind of problem.

So while I agree that 7-player tables shouldn't be a major factor in designing a new system, I want to point out that we can't just ignore them.

I tend to do TWF with the same weapon in each hand, because then your weapon training, weapon focus, and weapon specialization apply to all your attacks, along with any improved critical based feats.

If you're going to do any Enlarge Person or Lead Blades-type buffs, your best bet is Sawtooth Sabre: it functions as a long sword in all respects, but it can be used in an off hand without penalty. It takes an EWP feat, but you can swing 1d8 in each hand, and then enlarge person or use lead blades to kick it up to 2d6.

I have a two-weapon fighter who uses dual wakizashis, with improved critical, weapon focus/specialization, and weapon training with gloves of dueling. At 10th level, she threw out 4 attacks a round at +20/+20/+15/+15, for 1d6+10 each, critting on a 15 or better, without any temporary buffs up. I went for the wakizashis because they were the highest damage light weapon that did both piercing and slashing with an 18-20 crit threat.

My husband and I picked up the teamwork feat Outflank, so every time my fighter scored a critical hit, his barbarian got a free AoO against the target. It was really, really brutal. If you don't have a regular melee partner, you can accomplish the same effect with a Ring of Tactical Precision.

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