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Madge Blossomheart

Gwen Smith's page

FullStarFullStarFullStar RPG Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle. 1,367 posts (1,623 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 13 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.


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


It sounds like you have everything really well planned out. Here are a couple of suggestions that have worked well in our area:

Our Venture Captain prints out blank sign up sheets with the event name and event code already filled in so the GMs don't have to worry about it, and GMs have the event code handy when filling out chronicle sheets.

For newer locations where we had a lot of walk-ins, we started capping tables at 4 players. That leaves room for walk-ins while reducing the risk of not having enough players to run a table.

We started with a GM supply box with wet and dry erase markers, pens/pencils, initiative cards, business cards with the local website and main PFS websites, loaner dice, pawns and bases, beads for counters or miscellaneous markers on the map, a measuring tape (for "is he in range of my bow" or "do I have charge lane" type questions)--things like that. We also have a file box with extra blank flip mats, copies of the pre-generated characters, one or two copies of the Guide, faction information, secondary success conditions, blank inventory sheets, etc.

Basically, we kept a collection of random things that make life easier for GMs. Gradually, as the GMs got more experienced and collected their own supply boxes, it became less important. But we still keep it in the car in case someone forgets something or we need another GM at the last minute.

Good luck!

As far as whether you can stop in an opponent's square in Pathfinder, the Swashbuckler Mouser has that ability. That text might give you some more indications as to whether anyone else can do this.

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

Grey_Mage wrote:

Summon Monster:

"It attacks your opponents to the best of its ability. If you can communicate with the creature, you can direct it not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or to perform other actions."

If you had speak w/animal active they should be able to seek independent targets of one another if ordered (since they automatically understand who the bad guys are). I think "flank" as a TACTIC lies outside of general animal comprehension, but in combat they understand to hit where it's hardest to defend. SO they will move to flank for themselves, but not adjust so others can move into flank on their turn.

As for your examples (w/common language requirement met): Both are fine since the enemy ID aspect is met via magic. Neither is really complex beyond that. Telling a falcon to enter a room and steal a ring to the exclusion of other small shiny objects would be to complex for it's poor intelligence though.

The biggest issue with the "go in there an find an enemy" was that the summoning caster hadn't been involved in the fight inside and herself hadn't ID'd any of the enemies. On the next turn, she had line of sight on an enemy, so I figured the creature could figure it out now.

Grey_Mage wrote:
Would you require handle checks on a small earth elemental assuming a common language? They have an intelligence of 4... I would caution that allowing even high DC handle checks can allow an optimized CHA sorcerer to push INT 2 animals to do things a INT 4 elemental couldn't understand.

If a creature has higher than average intelligence, does Handle Animal even apply? And what kinds of things would an int 4 creature not be able to understand?

Side note: Off the top of my head, I could actually see the high DC Handle Animal check being able to pull off a trick an int 4 couldn't do. The int 2 creature doesn't have to understand what it's doing: it just knows that when the handler clicks the clicker and gives it a treat, it should do that same thing again. Our dog trainer used this method: when our (not terribly bright and awfully goofy) dog coincidently did something she wanted him to do, she clicked and gave him a treat. After two repeats, he understood that the treat was connected to something he was doing. In just a few minutes, he had narrowed down the "this is what gets me a treat" behavior to two different choices and just alternated between two behaviors. (You could almost see the gears spinning: "It's sitting or lying down--I'll just do both to be sure.")

Now that's the beginning of teach a trick (and dogs are a special evolutionary case), but the basic concept seems sound enough to transfer over to a fantasy world.

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Xunal wrote:

@Pappy: it was the swashbuckler archetype, actually. Had to give up the trap sense business, but oh well. He effectively gets three bonus combat feats at first level (Martial Training: Martial weapon proficiency and two combat trick rogue talents). Got a DEX 20, so I got him proficient with the scimitar (Dervish Dance feat to follow later), Weapon Finesse, and two weapon fighting, and weapon focus (scimitar).

Since he has TWF and a very high DEX, I wanted to be sure that both attacks could do sneak attack damage in one round.

Should be interesting...

Be careful. You can't benefit from the Dervish Dancer feat with TWF: the last line of Dervish Dancer says "You cannot use this feat if you are carrying a weapon or shield in your off hand."

That means you also can't use your Dex to attack with a scimitar if you are TWF.

Slashing Grace just says "When wielding your chosen weapon one-handed"--I don't see anything in there or in Swashbuckler Finesse that would restrict you from having anything in your offhand.

There is a restriction on TWF in the Precise Strike Swashbuckler deed ("To use this deed, a swashbuckler cannot attack with a weapon in her other hand or use a shield other than a buckler."), but if you do a one-level dip for Swashbuckler's Finesse, you should be fine.

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

Related question that came up last night:

How much control do casters have over summoned monsters (unintelligent, non-magical beasts, in this case)?

We had an Occultist Arcanist (with the 1 minute/level summons) who wanted the summoned creature to do stuff that an animal companion would require a Handle Animal check for, and I wasn't sure how to deal with it.

Some were easy: for example, drag an unconscious body would require the Work trick and a DC 10 move action check--that one was easy (no trick = DC 25, full round action).

But I was unsure about things like "go into that building and attack an enemy you can't currently see" and "ready an action to attack when someone comes in the door".

The arcanist had no way to speak with the creature and did not have handle animal, so I couldn't see how she would get the animal to understand what she wanted it to do.

Given this discussion on what you can do with purchased trained animals and animal companions, I felt that a summoned, untrained, feral animal would be harder to control than an animal companion. Anything that required a Handle Animal check from an intelligent animal companion should be dicey at best from a summoned monster.

(I assumed based on the spell description that it essentially had the Attack and Attack Any Creature trick.)

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

andreww wrote:
Timrod wrote:

Question, do you actually need handle animal if you're planning on using a creature as an impromptu mount without being a cavalier? I just realized how hilarious it would be for my wizard to buy a battle-trained bison and ride around on it casting spells. As far as I can tell, as long as I have the bison move before or after I cast a spell I wouldn't even have to make concentration checks to cast.

For reference, I don't even want the bison to attack, I'd just want it for the imagery of a crazy wizard spamming create pit off the back of a bison.

In my last session my Wizard was riding around on his summoned ankylosaurus shoouting yee-hah! at people.

As long as you make the concentration checks, you should be fine. Riding a mount counts as "Vigorous Motion":

"Vigorous Motion: If you are riding on a moving mount, taking a bouncy ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rough water, belowdecks in a storm-tossed ship, or simply being jostled in a similar fashion, you must make a concentration check (DC 10 + the level of the spell you're casting) or lose the spell."

(Ranged characters also have issues fighting from mount-top.)

Brace is also only useful against a charge. Since it depends on an action from the target, it's going to be more situational.

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

BigNorseWolf wrote:
I was thinking more more the charm animal/dominate animal/wild empathy line of abilities. I consider controlling an animal companion or other animal that doesn't know you from adam table leaving level of rules lawyering cheese .

Why? If no one else is ever supposed to control your animal, then why does the Exclusive trick exist? Security dog trainers often use random words for attack and down commands, specifically so that random people can't come along and order the animal to "kill".

If you have a high enough Handle Animal check and can beat the DC, why wouldn't you be able to tell a trained dog to sit, even if you don't know him?

Now, I can see restricting it to tricks the animal already knows (and you have to guess what they are and what the correct command is). I would at the very least make the DC higher for a bonded animal companion, and I'd apply a circumstance penalty if the new command directly contradicts the original one or if combat has already begun. (For example, if the animal is on a stay or a guard, getting it to attack someone or ordering it to heel is pretty doable. If it was ordered to attack you, then it will be much harder to get it to stand down.) If the owner is present, I would probably give him an opposed handle animal check to regain control.

Now if the animal is smarter than normal animal intelligence, that's a completely different issue. I'm not sure how I would deal with that.

Scenario with the hyena:
Our bard pulled that one off. The gate was down, so the hyena was not involved with the combat at all. When the hyena's handler went unconscious (but didn't fall over because he was pinned against the gate), our bard used Handle Animal and Bluff to get it to attack one of the other knolls,

Now, she knew the commands from spending the past few days with the knows, and she targeted a knoll she had seen have issues with the handler. She used bluff to help her mimic the handler's voice to get the hyena to attack. I wouldn't call that "taking over the animal" so much as "tricking it into attacking".

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

BigNorseWolf wrote:
It does. Fame limits gold purchases, not all purchases. That's why characters can get a wand of CLW for game 2.

I thought the reason for that was that wands are on the always available list, not because you ignore fame requirements when spending PP.

It's not clear whether animals are always available (particularly those outside Core Rulebook).

There are a couple of new feats designed to get archers the equivalent of a flanking bonus, but they are teamwork feats:
Coordinated Shot
Enfilading Fire

Those might give your GM a starting point for constructing a ranged flanking rule.

Are you saying
A) that Diplomacy and Int-based skills are hard for you because you tanked both your Charisma and your Int?
B) that you don't believe a barbarian should be good at Diplomacy and Int-based skills?

If the answer is A, maybe focus on Intimidate as your social skill and pick up the feat Intimidating Prowess to add your Strength mod to your Intimidate check. If their Diplomacy fails, try stepping in with Intimidate. You can force someone to act friendly for a short period of time, then they will turn hostile (and then you beat them up).

If the answer is B, that's a role-playing choice. You can just change that choice whenever you want. Barbarians are only prevented from using Int and Charisma-based skills while they are raging. If the rest of the party is trying to talk and you have already entered rage, you have a much bigger problem than just Diplomacy and Knowledge skills.

Side note: Using Int-based skills does not mean you are trying to be non-violent or trying to talk your way past an encounter. The most common use of a knowledge skill is getting the answer to "How do I kill that thing?" The most dangerous member of the party is often the guy with the right answer to that question.

Just get the base (+0) composite bow and then put the Adaptive enchantment on it.

Or pick up the Exceptional Pull feat if your strength bonus is only +2.

If you can do the racial alternates, the Aquatic Elf comes with trident and net as racial weapons (IIRC).

My husband runs an Aquatic Elf wand-wielder magus; he switches between net and trident as he needs to. Sometimes, he'll use Weaponwand to put a wand inside the trident so he can dual-wield net and trident. He generally uses self-buffing wands (like True Strike or Vanish) rather than offensive spells, relying on his arcane pool to enhance his weapons.

So far, it's worked pretty well.

Listen to Bruno. Bruno is the foreman of Grappler's Union.

Tetori has a couple of devastating advantages: they get Grab at 8th level and can suppress Freedom of Movement at 9th level. But, like Bruno said, it's a very focused build. On the plus side, you don't need any buffs, really: at 7th level, my halfling Tetori has an unbuffed, walking-around +18 CMB/+38 CMD for grappling, with only two magic items total (armbands of the brawler and a headband of wisdom +2).

As far as maneuver master, it depends on your GM. You might not be able to "flurry" with a grapple since you can't substitute grappling for a normal attack like you can with trip, disarm, etc. Many GMs interpret this to mean that you can full attack and make exactly one maneuver, so you only get one grapple check per round. Maintain might be a separate standard action or a move action (with greater grapple), so you might not be able to take advantage of the full attack option that maneuver master gives you. Again, talk that through with your GM before you decide.

Another thing to remember about the maneuver master is that you still take all the penalties for being grappled and you lose your dex bonus to AC when pinning a creature (Tetori don't after 4th level). I think the Grabbing Style feat will help with that, and it lets you grapple with one hand without taking the -4 penalty.

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

deusvult wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:
Very often when things seem overpowered, it's because the players aren't following all of the "downside" rules.
Quoted for truth. However, players in PFS can be fairly reliably counted upon to "conveniently" omit such things; if the GM doesn't enforce downsides, usually noone will.

I agree, but I also think that is true of players everywhere, not just in PFS. It's easy to see a new-pretty-shiny thing and focus on the sparkles, without realizing you have to polish the dang thing three times a day to keep it sparkly. Players might easily run off and buy a pretty kitty without ever once referencing the Handle Animal rules or realizing there is a downside.

Also, most players consider it the GM's job to enforce the downside of things, and since PFS GMs are dealing with a completely different batch of characters at each game, it gets very hard to track these kinds of issues. In a home game, the GM can easily remember that Player 1 has an Oracle's curse that he forgets about and Player 2 has a tiger that she doesn't always buy food for," etc.

When you're up around "Player 30's 10th character", it gets a bit a daunting.

I have seen several players diligently tracking downsides and using up their resources with no GM reminders: it's probably not a coincidence that most of those players are also GMs.

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

On the other threads that ZomB linked to, someone asked the question whether these animals are considered "always available" or if the purchaser has to have enough fame to get one.

Looking at the applicable text from Guide to Organized Play, it's not clear that animals from Chapter 6 of the Core Rulebook are always available, but because it references the entire chapter and the rather generic term "items", I'd say they probably are. However, I don't think the truly game-breaking animals from Ultimate Equipment and Animal Archive would be always available, because they are not "weapons, armor, equipment, and alchemical gear".

If your GM agrees, at the very least, the characters would have to have at least 5 fame to purchase an animal, which should restrict them to 2nd level characters, at least.

Always Available Items:

All basic armor, gear, items, and weapons from Chapter 6 of the Core Rulebook, including Small and Large-sized items. This does not include equipment made from dragonhide, but it does include equipment made from the other special materials, such as alchemical silver and cold iron (see the Special Materials section on page 154 of the Core Rulebook). All mundane (completely nonmagical) weapons, armor, equipment, and alchemical gear found in any other source that is legal for play are considered always available.

• +1 weapons (2,000 gp + 300 for the masterwork weapon cost + item cost)
• +1 armor (1,000 gp + 150 for the masterwork armor cost + item cost)
• +1 shields (1,000 gp + 150 for the masterwork armor cost + item cost)
• Potions and oils of 0- or 1st-level spells at caster level 1st (50 gp or less)
• Scrolls of 0- or 1st-level spells at caster level 1 (50 gp or less)
• Wayfinder (50% discount—250 gp; see page 299 of The Inner Sea World Guide)

Beyond the gear noted above, your character is restricted to purchasing additional items from his accumulated Chronicle sheets, or by capitalizing on his fame. Weapons, armor, equipment, magic items and so on that are outside of these lists are not available for purchase at any time.

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

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Do they have the Handle Animal trick trained? Can they make the DC 10 to get it to do a trick it knows? (Remember, the DC goes up by 2 if the animal is injured.) Are they taking at least a move action every round to make the animal respond?

And what are they doing with the animal when they aren't in combat? And do they have enough food for it? (The sheer weight of carnivore feed is usually enough to convince players not to drag along an animal that's not a bonded companion. Two days of carnivore feed will encumber most characters.)

Very often when things seem overpowered, it's because the players aren't following all of the "downside" rules.

You only provoke once for each action on a turn. "Moving" is a single action, so no matter how far you move or how many squares the opponent threatens, you only provoke once from each opponent on that turn.

However, you can take multiple actions that provoke on a single turn. You can move and then make a ranged attack, or retrieve something from your backpack, cast a spell, etc. (Note that drawing a potion is one action that provokes, and drinking a potion is a separate action that also provokes.)

For movement, we often find it easier to think of it as "leaving a threatened square" that provokes. You don't provoke when you enter the square, which is how you close in combat without provoking: it's leaving the threatened square that makes it "moving through" the threatened area.

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Quintain, et al.:

I'm flagging this thread to be moved to the General Discussion forum or the House Rules forum, for the sake of all the poor players seeing this at the top of the forum and thinking there is actually some rules question involved here.

The OP asked a rules question in the Rules Forum for a PFS organized play game. House rules, individual GM preferences, and philosophical discussions are completely irrelevant in answering the rules question and actively harmful when responding in the context of PFS.

Please, please take this discussion to another forum! Move it, start another thread, whatever--just take it somewhere else. If you continue this discussion in the rules forum under the OP's question about PFS, you're potentially causing all sorts of confusion by making people believe there is actually a question about the rule.

To any PFS GMs or players who land here looking for an answer to the posted question:
Yes, you absolutely can take 10 on climb checks unless you are in combat or otherwise distracted by some external factor. The danger of failing a skill check by itself is not a significant enough distraction to prevent taking 10.

There is no question about this rule.The RAW is clear. The RAI is clear. There is even a trait that references taking 10 when climbing and comments from a developer specifically saying that this is the case.

Fighting defensively has both the "standard action" and "full attack action" options, which kind of boils down to "any time you make an attack roll". (Not sure why they phrased it that way, under two separate paragraphs, but they did.)

In our area, the general take is "If you are making an attack roll, you can usually fight defensively." My halfling cavalier aids another defensively on a regular basis with no problems so far.

wakedown wrote:

I'm still feeling like this is FAQ-worthy, especially as I see a lot of people reference pulling a potion from a bandolier while moving which has extremely clear rules text. In addition, I see two sides to the question on accessing tanglefoot bags, alchemist fires, etc.

Bandolier, UE pg59 wrote:
You can use the "retrieve a stored item" action to take an item from a bandolier.

The "retrieve a stored item" action is not the same as the "draw a weapon action". The "draw a weapon" action can be done while moving and doesn't provoke an AoO. The "retrieve a stored item" action cannot be done while moving and does provoke an AoO.

The game is an interesting balance of attempting to model realism, and not being anything remotely realistic, but I'm tempted to consider someone who has a dozen potions in a bandolier in real life and how quickly they could unstrap/unbuckle and bring one into hand. My guess is that it would take 3 seconds, with part of the action being remembering which spot of the 10 spots it's located in. And remember, we're talking about every NPC in Golarion and their access speed, since there's no trait/feat/etc in question here about a heroic adventurer's access speed - everyone in Golarion accesses potions from a bandolier at the same rate (well, they would based on the bandolier's description since it doesn't bring the +1 BAB rules into play).

I hope that if this gets FAQ'd, they'll review all the rules for different storage-and-retrieval items.

Like you point out here, the bandolier contradicts the general rule of "in easy reach": items in bandoliers are clearly in easy reach: that's why bandoliers exist. Drawing an item from a bandolier is clearly easier than retrieving and item from even a well-organized backpack, but they use the same action--which makes no sense.

Likewise, the sheath, wrist sheath, and spring-loaded wrist sheath text are confusing and contradictory, with the wrist sheath referring to the "drawing a hidden weapon" action but not considering the possibility of not caring whether your weapon is hidden--what action is it to draw then?

Quintain wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Quintain wrote:
Take 10 eliminates risk.
That's why taking 10 exists. When you don't need to risk anything because you're sufficiently skilled, you can just say "I do it".
I wouldn't have a problem with this if "Taking 10" had actual requirements other than a declaration of intent.

The definition of "take 10" is you declare your intent and just have to be satisfied with the result. The "requirement" is "my bonus is high enough that I can make the check if I roll a 10 or higher." And it does eliminate risk--the rule explicitly says that's what it's for.

I'm sorry you don't like that rule, but it is the rule, and this is the rules forum.

Quintain wrote:
As it stands, however, your just below average roll shouldn't (IMO) eliminate risk, as it does with with climb, as the distance you can move in a round is 1/4 your speed..which means for the most part, you'll be making a check every 10 feet or less...and if you aren't going to be able to make it on a 10, your first check will be your only check, really. And you won't suffer any consequences.

Well, you won't get up the wall. And the entire game comes to a halt while all the players roll every 7 feet on a 40 foot, DC 10 climb when they have all the time in the world and complete climbing kits to help out.

As a player, it's just a bit frustrating to get 5 feet from the top and fail that last check, plummet to the bottom, burn three charges off a wand of cure light wounds, just so you can start the whole ordeal all over again. You can spend an entire session doing nothing but climb checks. (Been there. Done that. Never played with that GM again.)

Oh, and since the original poster was asking about a PFS game, the other consequence is that you won't have time to finish the scenario. So you lose all gold, experience, and prestige, burned a scenario that you can't replay, and wasted 5 hours of your life.


Avoron wrote:

There is, in fact, precedent that the dangers of failure, if severe enough, can serve as a distracting threat that stops people from taking 10.

It's from this FAQ.

That said, it's probably fine to pretend that that FAQ doesn't exist.

It's not OK to ignore FAQs in PFS, so thanks for pointing this one out.

Now, that FAQ references only that particular spell, and it's about an ability check not a skill check, so it doesn't automatically apply to this question. It is precedent, though, so we have to consider it.

Is this FAQ specific to this spell only?
The statement "You cannot take 10 on this check." has since been added to the text of the spell itself, without any qualifiers about distraction or threat. Also, looking at the spell, half of the DCs are under 10. I can imagine that the devs intended you couldn't take 10 just because it would avoid half of the consequences. This leads me to believe that this spell is a special circumstance and not intended as a blanket precedent, but that's my reading.

How does the int check of the spell compare to a climb check (the question at hand)?
The Int and Charisma drop is an inherent, automatic side effect of the spell. It will happen, the single Int check is the only way you can avoid it, and you have exactly one chance to make it. This Int check has much more in common with a saving throw than a skill check.

Falling is a risk, not an inherent, automatic side effect of climbing. You aren't already falling and trying to catch yourself: you're trying to climb, and you might fail. You can use tools to help you, your friends can help you, and you actually can try to catch yourself if you fall (Reflex save).

Based on this comparison, I don't think this FAQ applies to climb checks even if the devs did intend it as a precedent.

What implications would this FAQ have if it did apply?
The FAQ does say the threat must be "significant" enough to be distracting. So the question is, how significant is the threat?

This is a 5th level spell, so characters must have a minimum 15 in their casting stat to cast it. Dropping an ability score a minimum of 7 points for a minimum of 1 week is a pretty significant consequence. If it were a drain that hit 2 ability scores, it would require 2 full
spells to cure. That's essentially the same cost of spellcasting services as 2 Cure Critical Wounds or one Raise Dead.

So if the threat is to be equally "significant" it would have to rise to that same level. So if average damage from a fall would kill the character outright, I could see that being a significant enough threat to be distracting.

At 1d6 per 10 feet, that's 3.5 points of damage per 10 feet of falling. A d6 hit die character at 1st level with an 8 Con has to take 13 hit points to go from full to dead in one shot. That's at least a 40 foot drop before the character couldn't take 10 on a climb check. Note that each character would be prevented from taking 10 at different height: a 1st level barbarian (d12 plus a 16 Con) can probably scale a 100 ft wall without feeling threatened enough to be distracted.

(Edited to remove comments about Acrobatics, which don't apply here.)

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

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Akari Sayuri "Tiger Lily" wrote:
Andreas Forster wrote:
But why would such a character even go on a mission that leads to the land where he committed a crime? Didn't he go to Absalom to get away from that place?
VCs don't take no backtalk from uppity Pathfinders wanting to shirk missions, and the RP results can potentially be amusing for everyone involved :)

Oh, the number of times agents have looked around the briefing table, then stared at Valsin for several minutes..."That's the mission? And you're sending us?"

Seriously, you're sending two clerics and a paladin to Rahadoum? Or the three Liberty's Edge halflings (who may or may not be Bellflower Network) to Cheliax? Oh! or any gunslinger on stealth mission? Just a few weeks ago, we had a GM come over to talk to our VC to find out what happens if the entire table refuses the mission: during the briefing, every character at the table said "Not only no, but hell no." (After an hour of discussion, the players eventually worked out an approach that they felt their characters could live with.)

Get a hat of disguise. Tell the GM you're wanted in such and such a place and find out if they want to have any fun with it. If not, just stay disguised the whole time.

minoritarian wrote:

As you're the GM, hopefully you'll be able to make the sensible houserule of getting rid of Gunsmith (free firearm and the Gunsmithing feat) in exchange for Rapid Reload at 1st level and a crossbow of your choice, preferably a masterwork crossbow given the costs of firearms, and replace profiency in firearms with proficiency in all crossbows.

Don't retrain Precise Shot, even with hitting touch AC that -4 for shooting into combat will hurt (it is usually -8 really as they also have soft cover without Improved Precise Shot)

Ditto on the Precise Shot advice. Even going against touch AC, you want it.

Look at this way: if there was a feat out there that gave you an untyped +4 bonus to hit, you would snap it up.

Well, you don't have to want redemption to accept an offer to avoid rotting in prison: you just have to put up with the goody-two-shoes long enough to make it work. :-)

With the second option, though, you can make that work with any class. You could have had a profession/been any class before committing your crime, and now you're picking up where you left off. Or you could have been sold to someone who had class levels where you picked up some tricks, like working as a slave to a wizard or alchemist. You could even have been forced into a class by your master, like a gladiator slave. And having been a slave is a great backstory to let your inner rage build up and take some levels in barbarian.

If you want a divine caster class, it would be harder to pull off the character concept with the "divine servant" classes (cleric, warpriest, inquisitor), but ranger or druid could easily work (there's a whole conflict between druids and loggers in the Verderan forest, and Nirmathi rangers are guerillas/freedom fighters, either of which can land you in prison). Oracles can work with any background: one day you woke up cursed and casting. If you wanted to be an "accidental" criminal, Wrecker curse or Haunted curse are great ways to get into trouble without ill intent ("No, sheriff, I really don't know how that got in my backpack...").

Monk will be more difficult because of the lawful requirement, but the Marital Artist archetype lets you avoid that. Even still, it's possible. In a home game, I've got a completely anti-social, misanthropic, drow-blooded Zen Archer: she's only lawful because she knows that if she keeps her head down and follows the rules, she's less likely to get harassed and run out of town as an evil freak. Now, you won't be able to pull off the "all people are crap, and I don't trust any of them" attitude in PFS, but you could probably make the "I'm lawful because I don't want to get in trouble" bit work.

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

Spring loaded wrist sheaths...ioun torches...

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Here's the text:
Taking 10
"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."

Climb is absolutely one of the areas taking 10 was designed for: higher rolls don't help you, and you know an average roll will succeed and a poor roll might fail. Unless you are in combat or otherwise distracted, you can take 10 on climb.

Look at it this way:
Every day, people get in their cars and drive to work and back. Driving is a potentially dangerous activity: there is always the threat of an accident. But people do it every day, on autopilot, without even paying that much attention. They're taking 10.

When the car in front you slams on its brakes or suddenly cuts you off, now you have to roll a drive check.

Covert Operator wrote:
A FAQ on animal companion level stacking (I don't know which, I just remember I looked it up before) says you should generally have the classes stack because the designers of the game dislike a character that floods the field with low-level companions. You don't have to stack the levels, and having multiple full-level ACs is the time you wouldn't stack your level.

It's not an FAQ. It's part of the definition of animal companion from the

original druid class definition:
"If a character receives an animal companion from more than one source, her effective druid levels stack for the purposes of determining the statistics and abilities of the companion."

It does say they "can stack". It says they do stack, whether you want them to or not.

Nearly every other animal companion class feature refers to "as the druid animal companion" or says "as your effective druid level". Any animal companion ability that references druid at all has to use the rules from the druid class feature.

You might be able to get a GM to house rule that you can choose not to stack, but probably only in a game with 4 or fewer players. Because, like you said, flooding the map with extra companions sucks when you have 7 actual players at the table.

Covert Operator wrote:
I thought up a cool archetype abuse strategy: the Emissary archetype lets you choose a different bonus feat when you gain one. This is supposed to be for the normal Cavalier bonus feats gained at 5th, 10th, etc. but it also unintentionally applies to any specific bonus feats gained from other archetypes.

Generally, class features that refer to bonus feats only apply to bonus feats from that class. Class features never affect stuff from other classes unless they specifically say so (like Uncanny Dodge and animal companions).

I think you'd have to get your GM drunk before they let this fly.

Thrawn007 wrote:

Since I have been GMing more than playing, I find myself in the position to level my Elf Ranger (Skirmisher/Demonhunter) several levels to level 12 in Prep for Playing in the Eyes of Ten for PFS. It's not a well optimized character up to this point, but I'm trying to figure out if I'm making enough suboptimal choices it's going to make me not carry my weight for a 4 part level 12 quest which I hear has some brutal fights in it.

The obvious route would be to just go to Ranger 12 and be done with it. However, I find myself wondering if a dip into another class for a level or 2. Here are the options I'm looking closely at (I had a monk option I'd have liked, but I'm chaotic, so it's not a fit.) Comparisons below assume ranger 10, so the questions are the last 2 levels.

Ranger 12 (used as baseline for comparison)
Note: Due to the Boon Companion feat, I don't lose any animal progression on a 1 level dip, but a 2 level dip would cause a 1 level progression lag.

Boon Companion should handle a 4 level dip, not just 1 level. That might open up a lot of other options for you.

Do you have already have your group set up to do Eyes of the Ten? If so, look around the group and see what might be missing. Since you don't have a strong feeling of what you want to do, a level dip into something that fills the party gaps might be a good idea. For example, if knowledge skills are an issue, a dip into Investigator might be helpful (add a d6 to knowledge skill rolls). If you only have one divine caster, a Warpriest dip would get you access to the cleric spell and the ability to use divine scrolls along with several options to boosting your melee abilities. If your party needs more buffs, maybe a bard dip will work. And so on.

My husband runs an aquatic elf (Spirit of the Waters alternate racial trait) that starts with net proficiency as a racial weapon. That let him get Net Adept early on, and his magus has great fun casting with one hand and tossing the net with the other. Snag net + Spellstrike + Enhance Weapon makes for a very miserable opponent.

Also, entangle is a great debuff. Entangled creatures have to make a concentration check to cast spells or use spell-like abilities, and winged creatures have difficulty flying when they are entangled.

To target larger creatures, Enlarge Person is your friend. There aren't many creatures bigger than Huge. At 10th level, my husband's net using magus enlarged, flew up to the {huge flying demon}, entangled him, and dragged him to the ground for the melee fighters to beat on.

Reid Richter wrote:

Darn, to bad there is no lore match.

I still want to make this work so would a convicted criminal pathfinder fit best with dark archive, the exchange or the sovereign court?

All of them have a reason to send criminals, it's cheaper for the exchange and a sentence reduction of sort would make them loyal and cheap.

The Dark archive is into all sort of shenanigans so it wouldn't suprise me.

With the whole switch to the court from taldor as a whole, I can't really justify it anymore actuelly.

Any tips would be appreciated.

You can probably get some ideas from the Pathfinder Wiki.

The Season 6 faction mission for the Silver Crusade is all about redemption and helping veterans of the Fifth Mendevian Crusade. I've have been at several tables (on both sides of the screen) where Silver Crusade members persuade surrendered bandits to come join the Pathfinder Society and/or Silver Crusade as a more productive use of their skills.

You could very easily write a backstory of a criminal in a prison that was destroyed by a demon attack.* Rather than run, you bravely fought the demons. Any paladin, cleric, or warpriest of Sarenrae or Shelyn would recognize that you were still redeemable and could potentially take you under their wing and bring you back from Mendev when the crusade was over.

Another possibility:
You come from a culture that includes slavery as a punishment for crimes. A lawful-ish Liberty's Edge member freed a group of slaves and found out that you were enslaved as punishment for crimes. Not being willing to just turn a criminal loose on the world and not able to send you back to your home culture authorities (who will just sell you into slavery again), the Liberty's Edger brought you back to Absalom to join the Pathfinder Society where other faction members can keep an eye on you.

*I think there is at least one prison attacked by demons in a Season 5 scenario: the event is referenced in Scars of the Third Crusade, but I don't know which scenario the attack actually takes place in.

Brain in a Jar is right. Not all classes that get mounts get the expert Trainer class feature, so unless you have a way to get the feat without prerequisites, you have to be a cavalier or an archetype that gets the cavalier expert trainer ability.

Even if you did have multiple classes that have expert trainer, the feat says one mount. You'd have to take the feat once for each bonded mount.

There's also text scattered throughout the rule books to the effect of "If you have a mount or animal companion from another class, these levels stack." It appears under several mount/animal companion general descriptions; if it doesn't appear under every single thing that grants an animal companion, most GMs will probably rule that the general intent is that you get one companion and all your animal companion class levels stack.

Now, there are specific archetypes that let you have packs of animal companions, but I've never seen one that allows for multiple bonded mounts. I'm assuming this is because you can only ride one mount at a time, unless you have some sort of vestigal limb that gets you multiple butts.

(I'm guessing you're going for the "leaping off the charging horse and roll to avoid damage" trick.) If a GM won't let you do it with a ride check, you could probably just fall off your mount as a free action and make a soft fall check to avoid damage/landing prone. However, if you have a military saddle, you might need to take a move action to unstrap yourself from it first.

Ride isn't really adequate to describe some of the stuff I saw the rodeo trick riders pull off when I was growing up. A common trick was jumping from the horse the long side of the arena, then running across the center, catching up with the horse as came out of the far turn and remounting on the other side. (I think you lost points if your horse had to slow down, but I was never completely clear on the scoring.)

My hands down favorite trick was dismounting on the left side, bouncing off the ground, vaulting over the horse and bouncing off the ground on the right side, all in a single motion without touching the horse in the middle. I saw one guy do it four times in a row.

Assuming he didn't have the magic saddle that lets you automatically succeed at fast mount and dismount checks, I'm guessing he had a Ride bonus of at least 24 to be able to pull that off.

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

Jessex wrote:
Darrell Impey UK wrote:
The length on an arrow is (most generally) a function of the arm length of the archer rather than the bow being used.

Not really.

A longbow fires a longer arrow than a shortbow. That is the nature of how they work. And of course a footbow fires an even longer arrow still. What matters is the length of the pull of the bow which if the bow is of the same type will depend on the arm length of the shooter but can vary wildly across styles of bows.

The way I was taught to pick arrows was to place the nock against your breastbone and hold your arms straight with your palms together and place the tip of the arrow between your fingers. The arrowhead should be at least an inch past your fingertips for modern recurve bows and 3-4 inches past your fingertips for traditional longbows.

I can't come up with a way to make that fit in something as long as my forearm.

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Why is the other player planning to kill your character? And why is the rest of group going to be OK with it?

Even if the GM is OK with pvp, the rest of the party should at least be concerned about the guy who killed one of their number with no apparent reason. I mean, even from a pure self-preservation standpoint, they should wonder which of them is next.

One note on fly by attack:

It doesn't specifically say you don't provoke an AOO when doing it (like Spring Attack does), so your target will take an AoO when you move through his threatened squares.

Now, if you're mainly doing it with ranged attacks, you should be OK, but just be aware.

Revolving Door Alternate wrote:

Let me try to explain it another way with a negative example of what he doesn't want to become.

There is a guy at our local. His PC is a barbarian/fighter. His equipment list is backpack, waterskin, trail ration, masterwork breast plate, +1 cloak of resistance, +2 belt of strength, +3 adamantine earth breaker. At 9th or 10th level, that is it.
Just recently we finally talked him into a wand of CLW, javelins x2, and a potion of cure moderate wounds. He was pretty pissy about getting even those. Every coin is saved for the next + on his weapon. He has been trying hard to find some way to exchange his prestige for additional coin (and upset that he is not finding it).

Tell him to use his prestige for the lower level stuff: 2 pp for the wand of CLW. 1 pp for a masterwork javelin, 1 pp for a potion of cure mod or lesser restoration, etc.

That way he has some necessary items but still has all his money.

And try to explain to him that +1 damage to his weapon doesn't help him much if he's unconscious or carry 4-6 strength damage.

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

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Jack of Nothing wrote:
Also I believe the warning about the alignment shift was when I coup de graced a gnoll slave trader we were supposed to "take care of" and I mentioned Urgothoa, he claimed I was making a sacrifice to her. If memory serves the only thing I said was Urgothoa take you. She's the god of death right? Basically I just told the guy to die.

That sounds more like a misunderstanding. It's the equivalent of saying "Devil take you!" You mean "go to hell" and the GM hears "I sacrifice you to Satan." I think if you hit that again, just tell the GM that's not what you meant and ask how to rephrase that in the future. Sending someone to Pharasma is perfectly acceptable.

I've even run into a lawful good inquisitor of Damarak, the empyreal lord of lawful executions: no one blinked when he insisted on killing captured bad guys, because he listened to their defense, pronounced judgment on them, and dispatched them quickly without unnecessary pain. Sure, he killed guys who had surrendered and dedicated their deaths to his god, but there was nothing "evil" about it according to the game rules. In the end, it's all about how you spin it.

Look over the deities on the Pathfinder Wiki and see if there's one that fits the character better than Urgothoa. Pharasma would be more palatable, but someone who's more about pain (like Callistria or Zon Kuthon) might fit the character better. If you ran a bloodlusting worshipper of a war god like Gorum, no one would bat an eye.

Kletus Bob wrote:

Why not using a lvl 3 halfling cavalier?

- Honor guard archetype, gets an improved bodyguard feat.
- Dragon order for aid allies

Just need helpful trait and the feat combat reflexes. Depending how you interpret the different abilities stacking, this provide either +6 or +10 AC to your BBEG. I lean heavily toward the 10 AC but that is another discussion.

In all cases, at that level, should make it very hard to ignore the bodyguard. Especially considering that aid allies gives that bodyguard the ability to also boost the saving throws of the BBEG, which he should spent his standard action on instead of attacking the pcs if there is spells flying around.

A wolf mount also gets free trip attempts each time it lands an attack.

Friendly Switch is a nice little feat for henchmen, too: basically, they use their movement to move their boss out of the way. (Though if they're mounted, the mount probably has to have it.)

Have one of the Halfling bodyguards pick up Cautious Fighter and Blundering Defense: fight defensively and any adjacent allies get a luck bonus to AC.

My halfling cavalier defender who took Unarmed Fighter 1/Cavalier Honor Guard 3. By level 4, he had Improved Unarmed Strike (free), Crane Style (bonus feat), Cautious Fighter, Blundering Defense, and 3 ranks in Acrobatics. Fighting defensively, he gives all adjacent allies +3 AC, and +4 if he does Total Defense. Plant him behind the bad guy and the bodyguard, and have him use his reach weapon to use Aid Another defensively.

There's also In Harm's Way, Covering Shield, Call for Help...

Revolving Door Alternate wrote:

I talked with my friend. He liked the idea of the sacred fist war priest.

But he would still like some input on what is the minimum equipment others at the table would expect him to have.

Wheldrake wrote:


I kind of admire the player who is obsessed enough to actually list all those rare items of equipment (portable ram, indeed!) and stow it in his bag of holding. Most of my players never think of random minor gear... except for one guy whose characters *always* carry a crowbar.

My characters almost always buy a Handy Haversack relatively soon. Then every scenario I start buy several cheap mundane things that sometimes seem useful.

He on the other hand, buys the Handy Haversack and/or a Bag of Holding as his first significant purchase. Then spends most of his money for the next couple levels buying 1-3 of virtually everything that is under 100 gps. A lot of people really like having him at the table.
He is never quite as powerful in combat. But in PFS that isn't really a problem.
You want a piece of chalk, fishhook, red ink, steel vial, chain, manacles, periscope, chronicle, f#& of flour, or whatever. He is almost certain to have at least one. If you ask for something inexpensive and he doesn't have it (rare), I can pretty much guarantee, every one of his characters will immediately buy it before the next scenario.

I have a couple of characters like that. One is a non-casting fighter/blacksmith/engineer, so she has every mundane tool possible. She carries a handy haversack and a bag of holding, and has them filled with useful stuff like a periscope, hand drill, wire saw, climbing kit, block and tackle, crowbar, folding ladder, folding shovel, collapsible trampoline, portable bridge, large tent, even a portable anvil and forging tools. She's not used all of her gear, but she's the kind of character who would carry it. (Next up is the bowling ball to roll along the hallways when we don't have a trapfinder in the party...)

I also have an archer who makes Hawkeye look unprepared, with every trick arrow available. She also loves to play with wands, so she carries a bandolier of them that she uses with UMD. She also has a wide selection of alchemical remedies and magical elixirs to boost skills.

If your friend wants to carry minimum gear but still be flexible, there are some multi-purpose items available. In particular, the traveler's anytool replaces many mundane tools for 250 gp.

Also, if he starts carrying potions, he will still probably want to get a handy haversack down the road, because the haversack lets you draw them without provoking.

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

Try to make sure you have at least one character in each sub-tier. That way, when mustering tables, you always have at least one option.

Two characters per sub tier is even better, and three is better than that.

So you want at least 18 active characters at all times...oh, man! I'm behind! I need 2 more to fill in for retired characters.

Seriously, play the character that is currently shiny. If they're all equally interesting, find out what other people are playing and fill any gaps. Or play the character whose faction has a boon this scenario, or who is from the region, or pick a character who fits the theme.

We play our pirate character on any scenario that sounds like it has a boat in it. Undead in the title? Got a paladin for that. Etc.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Devilkiller wrote:
Charisma as a dumping is one reason why a tough DM of ages past instituted the "Luck Check", which is a d20 based Charisma check you make when you want to see who gets the extra arrow, who the shambling mound shambles towards, or maybe whether there are some coins or a poisonous spider in the couch cushions that a PC decided to check for treasure. When the DM wants to know which PC a really nasty monster should randomly attack he or she will sometimes call for an "Ugly Off". I guess we're getting way off the original topic though.

There are enough penalties for low charisma.

This kind of stuff falls in to "dick behavior", in my opinion.

What are the penalties for low charisma? If your character doesn't care about social skills, I don't see any downside at all.

All the other stats have some kind of side effect (carrying capacity, HP, skill points, will save, etc.). As far as I know, charisma is only used for social skills and UMD.

LoneKnave wrote:

Are you... are you intending to play a Core only Monk?

Well, here's the deal: Core Monk is terrible. Halfling for a Monk? Pretty bad. Core only grappling with a small sized monk? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?

Grappling doesn't have a size limitation. Your only downside for a small character is -1 to CMB and CMD.

Core only is the real problem there.

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

The idea for the character is fine, and someone who is trying to control innate violent tendencies is far from inherently evil--you're trying to control them, after all.

Running a bloodlust character is certainly doable--this isn't much different from my barbarian struggling to control her "anger management issues" (and most barbarians don't even bother to struggle). The part you're going to run into trouble with is Urgothoa: she's more of an "undeath" goddess, but I've seen necromancers and negative channeling clerics of Urgothoa succeed, so it's not a total deal-breaker.

First, I'd focus on what it is you actually want out of the character. Do you want to talk tough but don't care if you actually do anything (something like "I really want to kill him, but I'll let him live because I like you guys")? If that's the case, you can mention it in character introductions: tell the party that you're trying to control an innate bloodlust and you need their help: if they want you to leave someone alive, they just have to say so.

If you actually do want to slaughter all the people all the time, you'll run into some issues with your party, and that's where the disruption will happen. Again, if you make it clear at the beginning of the game (out of character, maybe), that this is your roleplay style but your character will let the party talk you down, you will probably be OK.

Second, find out precisely what your GM was calling you on. What specific actions was the GM going to give you the alignment infraction on? Just worshipping Urgothoa? The coup de grace? Each thing you've mentioned seems OK by itself, so I'm guessing you might be missing a very important piece of the puzzle. (For example, after the coup de grace, did you hold a ceremony dedicating the fallen foe to Urgothoa? Or did you start eating him?) Once you figure out precisely what the problem was, don't do that again.

I will warn you that unless you can manage to play with the same characters semi-regularly, and long-term character development will be lost on most of the other players. It's not quite as emotionally satisfying to have a life-changing epiphany if no one even notices that your different...

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

Another possibility is to ask one of the players to manage the initiative order for you. That gives you a little more "free brain space" during combat to focus on the monsters you're not familiar with.

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

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Also remind the players that their chronicle sheets are the official record: even if the reporting never gets straightened out, as long as they have their chronicle sheets, they are fine.

Our gnome mammoth rider carries a wand of Carry Companion. He has several huge mounts in his pocket at all times.

(Scrolls are cheaper, but his UMD isn't high enough.)

Melkiador wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:

Swift action Geas yourself? Really helps out those "low willpower" types.

Commune in a hurry.

I'm not quite sure how Fervor works, though. Does it have to be a spell with a target? Could you swift action Planar Ally?

It has to be a spell that targets yourself and if the spell can affect multiple targets it can still only effect just you when using fervor. But a spell cast using fervor is a swift action that doesn't use somatic components.

I was looking at that, too. If I'm reading it right, it basically gives you Quickened Spell and Still Spell at 2nd level, for free. I hadn't even considered the fact that it's not limited to spells that cast under one round...wowl

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