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Madge Blossomheart

Gwen Smith's page

FullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle. 647 posts (652 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 8 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.


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If you have two other melee fighters in your party, take Gang Up. Your allies don't actually have to attack the same guy you are: they just have to threaten him in order for you to be considered flanking and thus get your sneak attack.

It's even better if one or more of the melee fighters has a reach weapon or uses Enlarge Person or Lunge.

I have a character that's 6 levels of Zen Archer with 2 levels of Barbarian. She's a half-orc with Sympathetic Rage who kept getting kicked out of the monastery for anger management issues. She also carries a +4 composite bow for when she rages--she calls it her "angry bow". (Sure, she can afford an adaptive bow now, but it's too funny to stop the joke.)

The trick is to take all your monk levels first. If your alignment changes, you keep all your monk abilities, but you can't take any more levels in monk. On the flip side, if you start as a Barbarian, you lose your rage ability if you turn lawful.

And you'll really want to front load the Zen Archer levels, anyway. Point Blank Master at 3rd level is really, really nice.

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

Cao Phen wrote:
I personally have a character that is like this, with the exception of Greater TWF, Holy instead of +3, and using Earthbreakers. I am running at +22/+22/+17/+17/+12 (2d6+23/2d6+20 19-20/x3). This includes Power Attack, Double Slice, and the correct STR modifier to damage.

How are you using Earthbreakers with TWF? It's a two-handed weapon.

And Earthbreakers aren't flurry-able, so even the monks "flurry with a two-handed weapon" trick doesn't work. Even Crusader's Flurry is problematic, because I'm not aware of a deity with favored weapon of Earthbreaker.

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

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Kurthnaga wrote:
Also, even moreso as a player, I get frustrated with the constant calls for perception. It really is pure tedium to do so at every door and portal. I will give you a perception check where important, or ideally have you preroll secret ones, but I feel like checking every single place really bogs down the game play and excitement of the scenario. I've actually eaten a trap twice on my paladin for this impatience, but it never ended up significantly negatively impacting me anyway. I find the flow of the game much more important. Besides, a 7 int/7 wis paladin is bound to face first a few traps in his career.

I often go with "My take 10 on Perception is 22, 24 for traps. I'll be doing that as we're walking."

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

Did the other player give any reason as to why he was stealing it? If it were "just for fun", I probably would have tried to talk him out of it. At the very least, I would suggest to the stealing player that he do that in notes to the GM in the future, to avoid just this kind of issue.

(This only applies for items your character doesn't own or need: if it's your stuff or something that your character is depending on in the scenario, I probably wouldn't allow it at all.)

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

Jiggy wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:
Don't forget Double Slice and half damage on the off hand for Power Attack...
It's a very common belief (and a very common houserule) that Double Slice affects Power Attack rather than just STR-based damage.

Sorry, I was trying to respond to the different feat lists with "He has to burn another feat on Double Slice and that still won't affect Power Attack." That's what I get for being in a hurry.

Power Attack specifically says damage is halved on an off-hand weapon, and there's no provision for Double Slice. Piranha Strike also says the same thing. I agree that Double Slice should affect Power Attack/Piranha Strike, but there's nothing to even hint that it does.

I wonder if the guy is playing a monk? No Dex requirement for TWF, free Double Slice...and there's a common reading of the Monk FAQ that a monk has no off hand, ever, which would mean full Power Attack on both hands. (The way I read it, monks have an off hand while using a weapon other than an unarmed strike, but I can see how it can be read differently.)

If he's using Death or Glory, he needs to tell the GM every single time he invokes that feat, because that gives the BBEG the same bonuses against him the following round...

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

Don't forget Double Slice and half damage on the off hand for Power Attack...

I would definitely have asked about the build, because my two-weapon fighter sucks compared to that!

Rapanuii wrote:

Recent pfs, people made weird explanations for grapple being an exception, and said "it's not an attack roll" which I guess is right because it isn't something you can replace with an attack, but it's still a cmb.

Also, the ranged stuff I wanted to make sure, because pathfinder and all, sometimes things don't work out across the board with rules like you expect them to.


Were they maybe talking about the grapple check to break a grapple? Grapple does have an exception where the penalties to AC and Dex don't apply to the CMB rolls to break the grapple (but would still take a penalty for attacking while prone). You can also use Escape Artist to get out of a grapple, and that probably wouldn't take a -4 for being prone.

That's the only thing I can think of that could make that statement make any kind of sense.

Claxon wrote:
Mocktopuss wrote:
Putting some ranks into Bluff would make you for a good attempt at Feint, which would deny the enemy Dexterity to your next attack.

To make that method still requires feats, specifically two-weapon feint. Otherwise it's a move action to bluff, which will always preclude you from getting more than one attack.

Edit: And you need Improved Feint to make it a move action instead of a standard. It's a bad deal all around.

The Two-Weapon Feint tree requires you to take a full attack action, and it requires Combat Expertise and Two Weapon Fighting (not Improved Feint).

Two Weapon Feint lets you forgo your first attack to feint to get the target flat-footed against your next attack.

Improved Two-Weapon Feint lets you forgo your first attack to feint to get the target flat-footed until the end of your turn.

FWIW, I had a two-weapon fighter/rogue with Two-Weapon Feint, and I retrained it into Gang Up ("You are considered to be flanking an opponent if at least two of your allies are threatening that opponent, regardless of your actual positioning"). This made flanking buddies the most reliable method of getting sneak attack.

As I see it, there are three possible conditions a mount and a rider can be in when they are moving and attacking in combat:

1) The mount is charging, and the rider is not. In this case, the mount gets an attack at the end of the charge, but the rider doesn't. Here, the rider is just directing with the mount and could make a Ride check to do something else in that round.

2) The rider is charging, and the mount is not. In this case, the rider attacks at the end of the charge, but the mount does not. Here, the mount is only moving the rider into position, and if the mount moves less than its speed, it should be able to do something else that round.

3) Both the rider and the mount are charging. In this case, both the rider and the mount make an attack at the end of the charge, and both are committed for the full round. Here, there is a problem with small characters wielding reach weapons from the back of a medium mount.

It's clear that the devs intend the "double damage on a lance" and other benefits of a mounted charge (e.g., Spirited Charge) to apply only to case 3. However, I don't whether they just meant to restrict the special term "mounted charge" to case 3 or whether they intended to eliminate case 1 and case 2 completely.

Case #1 is pretty much the default condition for a "mounted party buffer" build: the rider uses his action to buff the mount/party, then the mount charges in to attack. It's probably the most common tactic used by mounted Druids, Cavalier-Bard combos, Battle Heralds, etc.

Splendor wrote:
Spring attack does require two feats; Dodge & mobility. So if you were looking for a way to do this without spending three feats, you can't.

Although if someone's looking to do a "move around in melee" character, Dodge and Mobility are going to be on the "to get" list, anyway.

Since Mobility gives you +4 AC vs. AoOs when you move through a threatened area, this build would probably want it.

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I think you've already plainly expressed what you need to tell Tom:

"As the GM, I need to be involved when a new player is being introduced to the game. I know what's coming up, and can suggest character options that will both mesh smoothly with the setting and work well with the upcoming adversaries. Hopefully I can also help the new player build a PC which fits their idea of what the PC should be like and also give them an opportunity to learn the rules in a smooth progression rather than a giant dump of mismatched bits."

I would say exactly that, right there. Although you might choose to leave off the "giant dump of mismatched bits", if you want to be extra diplomatic.

Don't worry about going into detail about what's wrong with the character unless he specifically asks. It doesn't matter whether the character he designed was perfect in every way: you still need to be involved.

If Tom does ask what he did wrong with the character, items 1, 2, 3, and 6 are objectively incorrect or problematic, so I would concentrate on those issues. Items 4 and 5 are personal preference or play style, and you can get into a long philosophical argument over whether glass cannons are "good" or "bad".

Byronus wrote:

I don't think you're able to use Spring Attack with Shocking Grasp as the Feat is a Full-Round Action that specifically allows for a single melee attack.

The only way you MAY be able to pull this off is if Shocking Grasp is Quickened. You'd use the Spring Attack Full-Round Action to run in, attack, and run out, sneaking in the Quickened (non-provoking Swift Action) Shocking Grasp while threatening the opponent, either before or after the melee attack.

It's fairly Feat-heavy, and does not utilize the Acrobatics Skill.

A melee touch attack to deliver a held charge is still a melee attack. You could use Acrobatics while moving during a Spring Attack, because you can make an Acrobatics check as part of any movement other than a charge (and even there you'll find table variation). However, there's not really any reason to: with Spring Attack you don't provoke an AoO from the target of your melee attack anyway.

But since Spring Attack is a full round action, you'd have to cast the spell, hold the charge, then Spring Attack to deliver the charge on the next round. It would cost you two rounds this way, and the only thing that that you'd gain is not ending your turn next to the target of the spell.

And it's still a 3-feat investment. (Maybe start with Spire Defender Magus, since you get Dodge for free?)

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

Mizkitty wrote:
Quick question. I love the GM prep folder, I use it alot especially being a new GM. I'm trying to run The Devil We Know Series for my local group right now. All the monster stats in the folder say they are HeroLab files. I have HeroLabs but when I tell it I want to open it with HeroLabs it just opens a brand new blank character. What am I doing wrong? The only thing I can find to open it with is like WordPad and its so full of code, its nothing but a mess. Thanks!

A couple of notes:

The HeroLab file extension should be *.por (for portfolio files). If the extension got changed, HeroLab might not recognize the file.

Try opening HeroLab, then using the File>Open menu to open the file. It might not work, but you will probably get a more useful error message, at least.

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

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Kess, Humble Servant of Abadar wrote:
RainyDayNinja wrote:
nosig wrote:

"What does your character bring to the table to make the game more fun for the other people there?"...

breath of life
^^^ This. Soon as my cleric, Kess, was able to purchase a scroll, she did. Soon as she was able to purchase Gloves of Storing specifically to store said scroll, so she could move to and administer, she did. So far, she has brought back 4 people from the brink, one of whom was at 2013 Paizocon when the other PCs thought her character was just a pasty smear on the dungeon floor.

In one game, the 8th level character in high tier 7-11 bought it, and the player reached out and took his mini off the map. I told him to put that back: no one is dead until my cleric SAYS they're dead!

On my turn, my travel domain cleric teleported 80 ft (move action that doesn't provoke), popped the scroll out of the Gloves of Storing, and said the magic word ("Clear!"). I love that trick!

KainPen wrote:

It is really not that strong bombs are much worse than this even if you had str to it and other bonus. note the reflex target gets, if it makes save it take no damage what so ever.

I am not sure for a PFS ruling how they work, considering Elves of Golarion is a 3.5 book. they may not even be valid choice for use in PFS because of that.

To tell it is 3.5 book look at the stats on magic items, they require xp to craft them this is no longer required, also the stats for the queen elf in the book has archmage which is a 3.5 prestige class. Mythic teir now in pathfinder and she wears gloves of dex, this is no longer the item in pathfinder it is a belt of dex. She also has no CMB or CMD listed in her stat block. and none of the power that come with being a level 13 wizard. Cure Minor wounds as spell like ablity trait you can get. This is no longer a spell in pathfinder rule sets.

To see if any book is valid in PFS, you go to the Additional Resources page. The alchemical arrows from Elves of Golarion are legal for PFS.

I used these in a PFS scenario with a total of four regular GMs at the table. After much rereading and discussion, we decided that the splintercloud arrow does 1d3 + enhancement bonus + Point Blank Shot (on the main target only).

Our reasoning was that they wouldn't do normal arrow damage, because the text would say so (based on the description pattern of the other arrows in that section). We also figured that since it doesn't do normal arrow damage, they probably wouldn't do Strength damage from the composite bow. The way we envisioned it, since the arrow shatters on a hit, it seems reasonable that it would not be able to convey the additional force/kinetic energy from the composite bow. We did allow it to do +1 damage for Point Blank Shot on the original target but not the surrounding squares, using the same ruling on that feat for splash weapons and alchemist's bombs. We also felt any enhancement bonus that conveys to the ammunition would also apply.

It seemed like a pretty reasonable compromise between "death bomb of doom" and "complete waste of money".

Kind of a side note: You can also use Manyshot on a "normal" full attack action, without using flurry or Rapid Shot. Anytime you're full attacking but don't want to take -2 for flurry/Rapid Shot, you can still fire two arrows on your first attack. There aren't many cases where you'd choose to do this, but if your chance to hit is down around 30%, it's a viable option. (For a Zen Archer, this becomes irrelevant at around level 8, because the bonus Monk-level-as-BAB-for-flurry evens out the -2 for flurry.)

Also, best archer feat in the book is Improved Precise Shot. Clustered Shot is a close second and is absolutely vital at higher levels when DR/- becomes common.

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

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Jiggy wrote:
The scenario is "3-21 The Temple Of Empyreal Enlightenment"
This one has a reputation. You shouldn't run it for a batch of firsties regardless of whether there's a healer at the table. Kyra won't save them.

Yeah, that should not be someone's first ever PFS game...unless we want to start yet another "I hate haunts" thread.

It's also tricksy and requires knowledge skills and makes you evil and....

Our current "Level 1 marathon" set is First Steps part 1 ("Let's run errands in Absalom!"), Master of the Fallen Fortress ("Dungeon crawl time"), and the Confirmation ("Yay! You survived your first two assignments--now write your thesis").

These are all repeatable, and they make a nice intro to the world, the game system, and society play.

Sior wrote:
2) Ioun torch - Have to wait for the fame or burn a Prestige Point, but always on torch spinning round your head? It's a good buy.

Ioun torch is only 75 gp. Shouldn't be a problem with fame at all. (I had a first level character burn half his starting gold to enter the game with one. It was worth it.)

I would ready an action to attack the hobgoblin if it attacks the downed character. That way, if the hobgoblin attempts to coup de gras, my readied action goes off. If the hobgoblin continues the coup de gras, he provokes an AoO. This way, you can get two attacks off before his attack lands, and I think that's the best you can do.

Also, if allowed, I would step into the downed character's square, and do everything I could (intimidate, trash talk, etc.) to make myself a target and change the hobgoblin's mind.

Zathyr wrote:
FoxMcCloud wrote:

Taarboran and his hand held scorpion.

Crossbowman Fighter 7/Sniper Rogue 7
HP= 30+4d10+7d8
Str: 10 0
Dex: 20 5
Con: 13 1
Int: 14 2
Wis: 14 2
Cha: 7 -2

(F)1:Point Blank BAB 1
(F)FB: Precise Shot BAB 2
(F)3: Rapid Reload (Heavy Crossbow) BAB 3
(F)FB: Deadly Aim BAB 4
(F)5: Weapon Focus (Heavy Crossbow)BAB 5
(F)FB: Vital Strike BAB 6
(F)7: Weapon Spec (Heavy Crossbow)BAB 7
(R)9: Focused Shot BAB 8
(R)RT: Bleeding Strike BAB 8
(R)11: Improved Critical (Heavy Crossbow)BAB 10
(R)RT: Sniper's Eye BAB 10
(R)13: Improved Vital Strike BAB 11
(R)RT: Combat Trick [Improved Precise Shot] BAB 11

Traits:?/Defensive Strategist

I'm kind of curious as to why you went with the Vital Strike tree instead of Crossbow Mastery (reload as a free action, don't provoke in melee). Damage-wise, additional attacks beat out Vital Strike unless you have barbarian levels and take Furious Finish (end rage to do max damage on your vital strike dice). Is there a character reason for it? (If you're planning to use a double crossbow, you'd still want Crossbow Master so you can reload both bolts as a move action.)

Also, if you have rogue levels, you should consider taking Shadow Strike so you can still do sneak attack damage against targets with concealment. (Improved Precise Shot specifically ignores the "miss chance" from concealment: it won't let you do sneak attack damage also unless your GM is nice or you get Sniper's Goggles.

If your GM won't let you do Zen Archer, you might find out if you could apply Manyshot to a crossbow. (It calls out "bow" and "arrows" but it doesn't have the usual "NO CROSSBOWS!" line in there.) I mean, if your GM is forbidding one of the best, most versatile archer builds in the game, the least he could do is let you get one extra arrow each round... :-)

james loveland wrote:

Well last night 6 out of 8 players walked out on our DM. Had a boss fight that took out everyone but 3. The other 5 were unconscious. One of the party members came up and killed 2 out of 5 stating he didn't like them and took their loot. They only reason the 7th person didn't walk is because they are related to the murderer out of game.

2 people tried to stop him but the DM told us that he gets to act first because he said he wanted to kill them. (both unconscious characters were over 50 feet apart and were killed before we could react).

Wow...just wow. I have so many problems trying to wrap my brain around this kind of player.

In game: what exactly did the murdering party member think would happen to the group when he did this? Did he expect the other 2 people to just let him off the hook and continue to trust him because "he likes them" (I guess for now, at least)? How is the rest of the party ever supposed to let him keep watch again? Would you ever go to sleep with that guy hanging around?

I mean, I can even understand a reaction like "I don't want to waste my healing resources on them--if you want to, go ahead" or "Hey, dude, I brought you back from the brink of death--you owe me some of your loot." But this

Also, in game, the GM needs to realize that a coup de gras is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. If another player was standing next to the guy when he started, the murderer would have taken at least one hit from the other player's standard action, (assuming he was flat footed when the coup de gras started), potentially 3-4 hits (from an AoO and a full attack on the other player's turn). And that's just on the FIRST guy he tried to kill. The second one is a completely different issue.

Unless the guy was using sleight of hand to stab the players secretly, the rest of the party should get a chance to stop him. (And if he did use Sleight of Hand, well, the "how the hell are we supposed to trust him, ever" comment applies even more.

Out of game:
How the heck did the player think this was going to play out? Unless the other players really hated their characters and the GM wouldn't let them switch, does he expect them to just "let it slide" that he killed their characters? Or does the GM just expect them to let HIM slide for letting the guy get away with, much less actually breaking the rules to allow it?

Are they both really so clueless that they didn't see the group explosion coming?

If you're allowed to do a Zen Archer as a dwarf, I would take at least 6 levels of ZA/Qinggong monk. If you can get a monk's robe*, take 7 levels. For your level 6 bonus feat, take Improved Precise Shot. Take Barkskin as one of your ki powers.

After that, you can have a lot of flexibility depending on what you want the character to do. Switch to ranger or druid if you want to be wilderness-y, fighter if you want to be soldiery, inquisitor or cleric if you want to be holy, rogue or ninja if you want to be sneaky...

Some nice synergies:
Ninja will let you combine your ki pools, so your ninja ki pool will be wisdom-based instead of charisma-based, and there are some nice ranged ninja ki powers.

ZA 7/Fighter (weapon master) 3 gets you weapon training by level 10, so you can pick up Gloves of Dueling for +3 to hit and damage, and it just goes up from there. You'll have all the "required" feats from ZA, so you can go nuts with your fighter feats. Damage-wise, this is probably your best option.

ZA 6/Ranger 4 gives you Gravity Bow, Lead Blades, and Aspect of the Falcon (if Bracers of Falcon's Aim are not available), and combat styles will let you ignore Dex prerequisites for your archery feats. (Oddly, you will probably want to take Crossbow style instead of Archery, because ranged feats that came out after the Core rulebook aren't on the Archery bonus feat list.)

ZA/Cleric of Trudd (in the Dawrven pantheon--Torag also works, but you have a burn a spell for Propitiation each day) gets you access to the Mighty Strength spell (level 4), which is like Bull's Strength except you get a +8 bonus instead of +4.

General thoughts:
Max your Wis first, then your strength. You can usually ignore your Dex, because you'll be using your Wis to shoot with. If you just stick with ZA all the way up, you won't face any Dex prerequisites for your archery feats.

Remember that Gravity Bow is a personal spell: no potions available and no one can cast it on you. A one level ranger or wizard dip lets you use a wand of it, though, or you can UMD.

If you're using the ZA "make my arrows do as much as my unarmed strikes" power, this ability will not stack with Gravity Bow (because you are replacing your bow damage with that of your unarmed strike). However, it will stack with Lead Blades, which is also a Ranger spell. With 7 levels of ZA, a monk's robe, and Lead Blades, your normal unarmed strike damage is 3d6 (drop enlarge person for 4d6 if you want), then spent a ki point to make your arrows do the same damage as your unarmed strike without needing to switch out to large arrows. If you've picked up Rapid Shot and Manyshot at that point, use those feats instead of flurrying, so you can save your ki point from the extra attack and still throw out the same number of arrows per round.

And get weapon blanches...

RDM42 wrote:

Look up "gloves of reconnaissance"

Basically lets you put two hands on a surface and see or hear through solid material up to fifteen feet thick for ten rounds per day.

Likewise the Door Sight domain power from Exploration sub-domain. Saved our butts on multiple occasions.

There's also the Cat's Eye Crown, which extends darkvision by 60 ft and lets you remove the sensor from the crown and then use clairvoyance from the sensor point.

Small flying familiars/animal companions are also really useful for aerial scouting, especially if they are generic enough to belong in the current terrain.

On the more mundane side, the periscope is a great tool: you can peek around corners or into rooms with a Diminutive size bonus to your Stealth roll and have total cover at the same time.

Marthkus wrote:

If mental stats effect your PCs ability to think, then no-one could legally play a 30 int wizard, a 30 wis cleric, or a 30 cha sorcerer. It is impossible to express a personality or thought process with such stats. If these mental stats were indicative of personality rather then mechanics then the devs could not put them in APs because the thought process of these characters would be incomprehensible to the devs, and thus could not be roleplayed. Neither Albert Eisenstein or stephen hawking could even begin to comprehend how someone with 30 int would think. Aristotle could only speculate as to what a person with 30 wisdom could divine. There is not a celebrity or politician that could even begin to conceive of how someone with 30 cha would carry them-self.

If you must by the rules RP your mental stats, then ALL high mental stat characters are illegal to play.

By that logic, no one should be able to play any non-human race or any spell-casting character, because we can't possibly imagine how creatures like that think, either.

If, as some have posited on this thread, all the mental stats are really just meaningless, they why exactly do they exist? I mean this as an honest, serious question: Why bother?

If there's no difference between Int, Wis, and Cha, why bother figuring out which of those stats each caster class should use? Why not just let the players pick their casting stat? Or just create some generic spellcasting stat, like "mana" from some of the older systems*?

Why didn't they just limit skill ranks to those given by your class and make all mental skills based on your "mana" or have no bonus at all? Why did they spend the time to divide the skills into groups based on different mental stats?

That's not an insignificant amount of work, there. Why would they waste their time doing it?

And if the answer is "because 3.5", then just roll the question back to the 3.5 devs, or the 3.0 devs, etc. Why did any of these teams bother with mental stats at all? I mean, at some point during the "2.0 to 3.5" evolution, they added (and then later dropped) the "Comeliness" stat, so it seems pretty clear they were willing to change the existing stat array if they thought it wasn't working.

*I remember playing 2 different systems that used a "mana" stat for spellcasting, but I'll be damned if I can remember which ones they were. I'm pretty sure one of them calculated "mana" off of your other mental stats...but it's been a long time.

Arutema wrote:
Gwen Smith wrote:

Those traits appeared both in Faction Guide and in Shattered Star. In the Faction Guide, they were class restricted and in Shattered Star, they were not.

Whether they are class restricted depends on which version your GM is willing to use.

If this is PFS, only the Faction Guide versions are legal.

Yes, you're correct. Thanks for pointing that out.

Those traits appeared both in Faction Guide and in Shattered Star. In the Faction Guide, they were class restricted and in Shattered Star, they were not.

Whether they are class restricted depends on which version your GM is willing to use.

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thorin001 wrote:
Uncanny Dodge does not prevent you from becoming Flat Footed or allow you to act in the surprise round. All Uncanny Dodge does is allow you to keep your Dex bonus to AC while Flat Footed. Other restrictions like being unable to make AOOs still apply (barring other abilities).

Uncanny Dodge states "Starting at 4th level, a rogue can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She cannot be caught flat-footed, nor does she lose her Dex bonus to AC if the attacker is invisible."

So while you are correct about the surprised, you are not correct about the flat-footed part. The definition of flat-footed includes the AoO restriction: "A flat-footed character loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) and cannot make attacks of opportunity."

A character with Uncanny Dodge can't be caught flat-footed, so I think that character should be able to make AoOs before their first turn in combat. (A character with Combat Reflexes "may also make attacks of opportunity while flat-footed", but a character with Uncanny Dodge is never flat-footed.)

kyrt-ryder wrote:

My point, KC, is at the table this would basically come down to.

KC: "Your character can't be graceful, look at that dex."

KR: "Sure she is. She was raised to be the epitome of poise and elegance, and I must say she looks dashing in an evening gown."

KC: "But that's not graceful!"

KR: *Holds up the dictionary*

Technically, you'd be holding up a thesaurus. A synonym and a definition are not the same thing, which is why English teachers generally suggest students look up the synonyms in the dictionary before they use them. And we won't even get into the distinction between denotation and connotation...

Back to the original argument, why is it horrible/detrimental to the table/etc. for someone to tank their Con, but perfectly acceptable for someone to tank all of their mental stats?

I think that it's all too easy to "get away" with tanking mental stats because we can simply claim "I can have a 5 Int and no skills but still somehow direct a team of adventurers in complicated group tactics because RP!"

It kind of makes me wonder why the game even bothers with other stats than Con, since that's the only one that actually seems to count.

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kyrt-ryder wrote:

Depends on how you're defining genius. If you mean high Int? Not very often, because the system doesn't give Fighters enough incentive to have a high intelligence. If you mean a brilliant tactician? Not only have I seen a few, I've played a few myself.

Just out of curiosity, how do you play a brilliant tactician with a low Int? What stat makes the fighter a brilliant tactician, and how high does it need to be? What skill(s) do you need and how many ranks in it?

The main reason I ask is that I see a whole lot of highly optimized characters who don't seem to have any negative effects from their 7 Int or 7 Wis and 5 charisma. Because low mental stats don't have defined mechanical penalties, a lot of players just tank their mental stats without any consequences.

Now, I have seen some players embrace their tanked stats, derive memorable personalities for these characters, and play them brilliantly. But these players are few and far between.

If you're talking about PFS, I'd recommend taking a dip into Ranger instead of any arcane caster. The ranger spell list includes Gravity Bow, Aspect of the Falcon, Residual Tracking, Deadeye's Lore...all sorts of good stuff for archers. Each of these as a wand costs only 2 prestige points, and you can cast them with a level 1 dip as long as you don't take an archetype that doesn't trade out the spellcasting ability.

If you take Freebooter archetype, take a move action to bane a target, then give your allies +1 attack and damage (untyped) until it drops. New move action, new target, repeat until combat is over.

If you take an archetype with a level 1 animal companion, get Pheremone arrows (from Elves of Golarion) to give the critter +2 attack and damage against your target for one hour.

You also get martial weapon familiarity, full BAB, and a crapload of skill points.

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I'm running a Zen Archer/Qinggong monk in RoTRL; we're at level 7, and she's pretty effective. As soon as I can get a Lesser Designating bow, she'll add +2 attack and damage to the melee fighters, too. For Ki powers, I have Barkskin (the no-brainer), High Jump (cause I just love it), and Deny Death. (We almost TPK'd in book 2, and I wanted to make sure that doesn't happen again. As long as my monk isn't killed outright, she'll wake up within a few minutes and be able to get everyone else out of there.)

In other games, my husband has level 7 Flowing Monk/Monk of the Sacred Mountain, which is a really devastating combination. He's focused on Trip, so it's getting less helpful at upper levels, but a Reposition based Flowing Monk with Ki Throw is a awesome battlefield controller. He can't be moved when he plants his feet, he can reposition people who attack him (Enlarge Person makes this really, really powerful), and his AoOs cause foes to be shaken. And you get Toughness and +1 Natural Armor at 2nd level.

In general, here's the FAQ that says Qinggong Monk can stack with every archetype, so really, every monk except the Martial Artist should take archetype, just to have the options. (Your GM may rule differently, of course.)

For ki powers, I would never take a feat-replicating Ki power: you will want those ki points for all sorts of other reasons. If you want a feat, you'll want it all the time, so just plan to get it somehow.

I like Dex-based characters, but it's not optimal for a Monk. You get Wisdom to AC along with Dex, so you're usually better off maxing Widsom and Strength, especially if you want to do maneuvers. Through level 7, we haven't found anything like an agile weapon or an amulet of mighty fists (at all, much less an agile weapon), and we're only now in a big enough city that we have a prayer of hunting one down. A completely Dex-based front-liner would have struggled though our game, just because of the luck of the roll on what's in the marketplace. Your GM and your luck will differ, obviously, but you'll want to understand what general situation you're getting into before you decide.

(Like I said, I like Dex based, highly acrobatic characters, and my Zen Archer is Dex first then Wisdom, even though I knew it wasn't the best option for DPR. She's done OK for herself.)

I like Furious Focus, too, unless you have absolutely no trouble hitting things. And almost every character can benefit from Iron Will.

I've seen Step Up be devastating against spellcasters or people who need to back off and drink potions and such.

As soon as you get spells, you can take Arcane Strike, so you might consider Raging Vitality at 3 and Arcane Strike at 5.

RainyDayNinja wrote:

This is an idea I've been refining for a while, and I think I just about have it down, but I'm looking for any tweaks to make it work any better. I'm going to start playing it at level 6 with GM credit, so I don't have to worry about the early levels.

(7/22/14/20/10/5 at level 6)

Two words of caution about the 7 STR and 5 Cha:

1) Watch your carrying capacity. You might want to invest in some mule-back cords in addition to a handy haversack.

2) I have twice run into charisma-draining critters in PFS: in the 7-9 tier, they drained for 2d4 each hit, targeting touch AC. Without really, really good saves, your character drops in 1 hit on an average roll. (There are strength-drainers, too, but at least the 7 Str would probably get you through the first attack.)

I've been considering a similar build, so I'll likely steal some ideas from you...I do like Arcane Strike, especially with those gloves of Arcane Striking.

Magda Luckbender wrote:
Of course increasing size, and thus losing 2 points of DEX, decreases the number of AoOs one gets from Combat Reflexes. Why are people even arguing about this?

There are two different rules interacting here, which usually gets confusing.

1) Does the size penalty from Enlarge Person operate like ability damage (which does not alter your base stat) or like ability drain (which does alter your base stat)?
Kazumetsa Raijin found the answer to this one, I think: "Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage..." (Enlarge Person is tricky because it specifically causes a size penalty, but I think it's still clear that it is a "spell or ability" that causes you to take a temporary ability penalty.)

2) Is the number of additional AoOs from Combat Reflexes based on your current Dex modifier or the modifier calculated from your base Dex statistic?
I agree with you that it's pretty clear: the additional AoOs are calculated off your current modifier, so any temporary ability score adjustments would apply. So yes, Enlarge Person would subtract 1 from your AoOs if you have Combat Reflexes; likewise, a potion of Cat's Grace would add 2 to your AoOs. However, if a GM rules that Cat's Grace doesn't give you 2 more AoOs, then by extension, Enlarge Person doesn't cost you 1. That depends on how the GM reads Combat Reflexes.

In summary:
Yes, you are absolutely correct. But this is why people are still arguing about Enlarge Person and Dex penalties.

Side note:
If you have a feat with a minimum Dex requirement, it is really clear that the Dex penalty from Enlarge Person would not cause you to lose the feat. So for, instance, if you have Dodge (Pre-req: Dex 13) and have a 14 Dex, you can still use Dodge after you take an Enlarge Person potion and the penalty temporarily lowers your Dex to 12. (This situation doesn't apply to Combat Reflexes, because Combat Reflexes doesn't require a minimum Dex score.)

Rapanuii wrote:

I feel that the general chance to hit with the inclusion of all given situations where my feats can help me do things outweighs the overall damage increase. One damage on a standard action, and I admit one damage on each attack while considering many shot and rapid shot does add up to some great stuff, but obviously the latter attacks are less likely to hit enemies.

Does it do more damage per turn? Obviously yes, but you're ultimately going to suffer in my opinion with the longbow archer at least until like level 12 or something when feats specific to make that build kinda go into the take anything territory. I personally rather have a stronger overall character, but that's subjective too. I admit that I didn't think to take the alt race feature to get my strength up for max DPR, so thanks for showing me.

If you want to go insane with permutations and possibilities, I've put a Damage Calculator in the PFS GM Shared Prep folder:

It currently pulls AC and HP from the "Average Monster Stats" in the PRD (based on APL+1), and you can have up to 10 attacks in a single sequence (for rapid shot, manyshot, and up to 3 iterative attacks). You can add Deadly Aim, adjust for concealment and cover, mirror images... (The link is to a ZIP file with two files in it. The Excel file is the calculator, and the Word document has all the instructions and formulas, and it even explains the math behind the formulas I used, if you care.)

As far as stuff to buy:
For a player running an archer character, I highly recommend picking up the Elves of Golarion book. It contains a nice assortment of trick arrows so you can really "Hawkeye" it up if you want to.

I have a couple of Zen Archers in different games. My "standard" arrows are cold iron durable arrows, with different weapon blanches as soon as I can afford them. My usual assortment is
20 cold iron durable, plain
10 cold iron durable, blanched with silver
10 cold iron durable, blanched with adamantine
10 cold iron durable, blanched with ghost salt
20 blunt arrows (not durable)
20 flight arrows (not durable)

If I run out of the cold iron durable, I'll start firing the silver blanched ones (cheapest weapon blanch). If I run out of those, I'll switch to the blunt next. I have only had to dip into the silver ones in one or two combats, and I'm doing 2-4 shots a round.

I keep the blunt arrows on hand for fighting skeletons and doing non-lethal damage. I keep the flight arrows around just in case I need the extra range, but it hasn't happened yet.

I'll also usually carry
5 whistling arrows
5 thistle arrows
2 smoke arrows
2 tanglefoot arrows
2 grappling hook arrows
(The trip arrows aren't legal in PFS, or I would probably carry a couple of those, too)

I keep the thistle arrows to target spell casters: they do continuing damage, so it requires a concentration check until the caster spends an action to pull the thing out. (Granted, it's not much damage, but anytime I can force the GM to drop a die, I have a chance of getting lucky.) :-)

Good luck, and welcome to PFS!

I'm playing a Sea Reaver Barbarian archetype (from Ultimate Combat) in Skull and Shackles, and I'm trying to get some clarification on the Eyes of the Storm ability:

Eyes of the Storm (Ex):

At 2nd level, a sea reaver ignores any concealment provided by fog, rain, sleet, mist, wind, or other weather effects that is less than total concealment, and any penalties weather applies on Perception checks are halved.

This ability replaces uncanny dodge.

Now, the description of fog under weather effects says "Whether in the form of a low-lying cloud or a mist rising from the ground, fog obscures all sight beyond 5 feet, including darkvision. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment (attacks by or against them have a 20% miss chance)."

So I have two questions:
1) How exactly does Eyes of the Storm work in fog? How do you "halve a penalty" when the penalty is "obscures all sight"?

2) How do you think this ability would interact with spells like Fog Cloud, Obscuring Mist, etc.?

Fog Cloud:
A bank of fog billows out from the point you designate. The fog obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. A creature within 5 feet has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance). Creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker can't use sight to locate the target).

Obscuring Mist:
A misty vapor arises around you. It is stationary. The vapor obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. A creature 5 feet away has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance). Creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker cannot use sight to locate the target).

A moderate wind (11+ mph), such as from a gust of wind spell, disperses the fog in 4 rounds. A strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the fog in 1 round. A fireball, flame strike, or similar spell burns away the fog in the explosive or fiery spell's area. A wall of fire burns away the fog in the area into which it deals damage.

I'm thinking of these two spells in particular because the effect is described as "a bank or fog" and "a misty vapor" rather than "a magical fog" or "a magical mist". I don't think Eyes of the Storm would provide any benefit against magical weather-like effects, but I'm not sure if these two spells are just magical control of a natural weather effect. For comparison, I thinking of the difference between Control Winds (magical control of a natural weather effect) and Wind Wall (magical effect that mimics a weather effect), and I'm wondering if a similar distinction applies to these spells.

Really nice thread! I've been considering a DD bard with a two-level dip into Divine Hunter for Cha to saves and Precise Shot (free bonus feat) as a way of solidifying a backup ranged options. Does anyone have any thoughts?

I would have to say no, they are not flat-flooted, because of this text in Dazed: "A dazed creature can take no actions, but has no penalty to AC".

Since flat-footed characters can't add their Dex bonus to AC, I would say the lack of AC penalty in Dazed implies they are not flat-footed.

Moondragon Starshadow wrote:
That's certainly one way to go. The other way is to play a Zen Archer Monk. Just start with 14 STR 14 DEX 14 CON 18 WIS and dump on INT and CHA (dwarf best for this). Very high saves, very high AC and CMD, lots of attacks and lots of free archery feats. It probably starts out a tad weaker than a fighter based archer, but I think it exceeds it around level 6 in my opinion.

In my experience, the Zen Archer monk beats the fighter archer at lower levels. You start out getting flurry (Rapid Shot) at level 1, instead of waiting for your second level feat to pick it up. Getting Point Blank Master at level 3 is huge, and you can pick up Improved Precise Shot at level 6. Not to mention you get Improve Unarmed Strike, so you always threaten.

I think the strongest combination is 6 levels of Zen Archer (maybe 7 if you want to get a Monk's Robe) then switch to Weapon Master Fighter.

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

Messa Flutterfoot is the new VC of the Flying Flutterfoot Family Circus and Traveling Pathfinder Lodge, coming soon to a location near you (assuming you are somewhere in Varisia)!

Note that not all of the Flutterfoot circus troupes are Pathfinder Lodges, but they will all be willing to get you into contact with VC Messa.

Akerlof wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:

My favorite use of a whip by a support caster was the bard who cast Weaponwand (from Inner Sea Magic, I think) to put his wand of cure light into his whip, then used it to deliver cure spells at reach, all while standing safely behind the heavily armored fighter.

How do you adjudicate the Weaponwand + CLW wand, and do you run into table variation?

Normally you don't need to make an attack roll against a willing target, but I don't know that that applies to manufactured weapons during combat. I'm tempted to simply allow them to heal from 15' reach (Rule of Cool and all that,) but I don't know how other GMs would rule it and I'm not 100% certain I'm being completely objective in this case.

Technically, a character can choose to take an attack, or at least make themselves flatfooted for a single target, single attack. So at worst I'd say you have to hit their flatfooted touch AC (which, given cover, could be an issue at lower levels). A more lenient GM could use more of a "roll your attack and you miss on a 1" rule, which seems pretty fair.

Victor Zajic wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:

Whip is a good option for a "like to be in second rank" character. Since you have a 15 foot reach, you can be more than a five-foot step away and still attack into melee for aid another (especially if you take the Helpful Halfling racial trait).

My favorite use of a whip by a support caster was the bard who cast Weaponwand (from Inner Sea Magic, I think) to put his wand of cure light into his whip, then used it to deliver cure spells at reach, all while standing safely behind the heavily armored fighter.

Doesn't aid another require the target to be within your reach? Which isn't 15ft with a whip without some serious feat investment?

Regular Aid Another is a standard action: if you can attack the target, you can aid your ally. I can attack a target 15 ft away with a whip, so...

Could you be thinking of Bodyguard, which lets you perform the aid another action as an Attack of Opportunity? For AoOs, you would be correct: the whip doesn't threaten without some feats.

cnetarian wrote:
I'm hoping there is a consensus on RAI to handle this before I have to make a ruling on it myself because I can see that it is going to come up in my campaign. I can buy the argument that a full-attack action of only melee attacks doesn't allow a throw to be tacked on because the weapon is being used as a melee weapon not a ranged one, but being able to mix melee and ranged attacks in the same full-attack action and rapid shot can cover a variety of situations. I'm not arguing for it being legal or illegal, I'm just trying to find out if this is an already settled issue (and if not whether someone has an argument I didn't think of).

The problem isn't that you're taking a full-attack action of only melee attacks. The problem is that Rapid Shot calls out a full-attack action "with a ranged weapon".

Now, you can combine ranged and melee attacks with Two-Weapon Fighting with no problem, and TWF has the advantage of not having Point Blank Shot as a prerequisite. The only issue is that if you're attacking with the trident and then throwing it, the trident could also count as your "off-hand weapon", so you might take an additional penalty for having a "non-light weapon in your off hand", but I don't think most GMs would rule that way.

Mark D Griffin wrote:

So here is my next question then.

A monster throws his Returning Trident at me. Presumably I can pick it up and throw it back, since it doesn't return to him until the beginning of his next turn. Once I've thrown it, does it still return back to him? Does it also return back to me at the beginning of my next turn? This is a fascinating question. If this is ruled OK, it goes on my list of coolest exploits by a character.

Full text for consideration:

This special ability can only be placed on a weapon that can be thrown. A returning weapon flies through the air back to the creature that threw it. It returns to the thrower just before the creature's next turn (and is therefore ready to use again in that turn). Catching a returning weapon when it comes back is a free action. If the character can't catch it, or if the character has moved since throwing it, the weapon drops to the ground in the square from which it was thrown.

"back to the creature that threw it... drops to the ground in the square from which it was thrown..."

Wow. I think you could probably commandeer someone else's Returning weapon, provided you can get your hands on it. So...what are legitimate ways of getting your hands on it?

Disarm should clearly work (if you have a free hand you can take the weapon). Snatch Arrows sounds like it should work. If it misses and you spend a move action picking it up, I'd give you that, too.

So if the weapon hits you, can you pull it out of your chest and throw it back (thus making a cinematically awesome scene)?

If you Bull Rush the weapon thrower out of the square, I'd say the weapon comes back to you, since you're now in the square...

For extra fun, if you just hold onto the weapon, would you fly through the air back to the creature that threw it? Probably not, unless the weapon has a strength modifier for some reason and can carry you. (If so, I assume you would provoke with movement.)

The only possible wrinkle is that trident is an exotic weapon, but that doesn't actually prevent you from wielding it: you just take the -4 non-proficiency penalty.

(Are you playing Skull and Shackles, by any chance?)

Andarius wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Your halfling bard's whip attack bonus should be +0. Perhaps you forgot to include her size bonus? Consider taking Weapon Finesse instead of Extra Performance. Her whip attack bonus would become +4 (this bonus applies to trip as well, and disarm would be at +6).

This will be a feat to be chosen in the future. Delarin likes to stay far back from battle and provide support spells/songs/arrows.

Also, I did neglect the size bonus. Thank you.

Whip is a good option for a "like to be in second rank" character. Since you have a 15 foot reach, you can be more than a five-foot step away and still attack into melee for aid another (especially if you take the Helpful Halfling racial trait).

My favorite use of a whip by a support caster was the bard who cast Weaponwand (from Inner Sea Magic, I think) to put his wand of cure light into his whip, then used it to deliver cure spells at reach, all while standing safely behind the heavily armored fighter.

lemeres wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

Another option is the Adoptive Parentage (Elf) alternate racial trait. In return for giving up your human racial bonus feat, you learn the Elven language and gain the Elven Weapon Familiarity racial trait.

*begins shabby Billy Mays impression*

"If you buy now, will not only give you access to bows, but we will throw in the longsword/rapier set for free. And for callers that buy in the next two minutes will get the Elven Curved Blade and Elven language for absolutely no cost. And all this for the low, low price of one bonus feat (plus shipping and handling)"

In seriousness, it is a great option to take, particularly if you are not playing a character with martial proficiencies, since it gives you access to a decent weapon for any weapon style. ECB and rapiers, for finesse users, longsword and ECB for strength users, longbows and ECB for ranged users (I am sure it would do a lot of damage if you threw it). And all you really need is a great uncle twice removed that happened to be an elf (because really, once an elf joins the family, they can stay around for a long time while still being relevant)

(Love the Billy Mays impersonation, BTW)

Actually, you still need martial weapon familiarity for Elven Curved Blade. Elven weapon familiarity moves ECB from an Exotic to a Martial. But it's still a sweet weapon. I should order now!

Axebeard wrote:
Gwen Smith wrote:
For a backup ranged attack, skip the bow and get her some chakrams: for 1 gp each you get a 30ft range increment and do 1d8+Str. If she goes with Quick Draw, she can throw weapons at the same rate of fire as a bow.
If you plan on never using your ranged attack after level 2, this advice is okay.

Context is everything.

Since we're talking about a back-up weapon for a level 2 character, this is kind of the point, isn't it? I said "bows aren't cost effective at low levels". Spend a few gold on the optimal thrown weapon for two-three levels until you can afford a 400gp item as a back up weapon that you might never actually use.

Axebeard wrote:
Plus, fighters have so many feats that the statement that you can throw chakrams as rapidly as you can fire arrows isn't really legitimate. At level 6-7, you can fire four arrows, three of them are at the same, high, modifier. At 6-7, you can still only throw two chakram, and given that you might have to close to get within 30 feet, maybe only one.

The OP was already thinking about taking Quick Draw for something else entirely, and I was actually quoting the Quick Draw feat. At 2nd level, with no other feat investments, the character can, in fact, draw and throw weapons as fast as they could fire a bow.

To get the rate of fire you are talking about, you need to spend 3 feats (not including Precise Shot), and again, we're talking about a 2nd level character here. None of the build suggestions slotted out blowing 3 feats on a backup weapon option, so again, in context, your comments aren't really legitimate.

Axebeard wrote:

Also, buy a +X bow or get Greater Magic Weapon from a wizard, and all of your arrows are +X arrows. Buy a +1 chakram or javelin, and you have a single +1 chakram or javelin. Weapons need enhancement bonuses to keep up at the later levels.

In short, thrown weapons are a patch to get you to level 3. Past that point, if you want a real ranged weapon, buy a bow and, especially if pure fighter, drop a few feats into it.

We're talking about a level 2 character, and people only mentioned bows for backup. At 2nd level, 75gp is still a lot of money. At an 18 strength, a composite longbow is 100gp + 75x4 = 400 gp. A chakram can do the same amount of damage at 1gp, which is really sweet until you're high enough level that 400gp becomes a throwaway amount of money.

And in PFS, there are very few scenarios that use long-range combat, especially in the 1-5 tier. (I can think of maybe 4 in that tier where the range increment would come into play.) My 11th level TWF has drawn her composite longbow exactly twice in her career; she still carries the three +1 seeking arrows she picked up at level 6. (She has however tossed a bunch of chakrams around.) My 8th level earthbreaker-wielder has drawn her bow exactly never; she tosses light hammers in close quarters since that's her fighter weapon training group (and she's a blacksmith, so it's a thing).

There's no question that a composite longbow is the king of ranged weapons for non-gunslingers. I personally love archers--heck, I used to teach it at Girl Scout camps and in the SCA. I currently play 2 different archers, one in PFS and one in Rise of the Runelords. But none of this is relevant to the current thread.

The OP was seeking advice for a sword and board build, at 2nd level, for PFS. I know of no PFS melee fighters who have spent feats on Point-Blank and Precise Shot, much less Rapid Shot or Manyshot, and none of the suggestions for advancing the build had any room for three throw-away feats. And no 2nd level PFS character has a spare 400gp to drop on non-primary gear, especially since the "play up" rules were changed last year.

Sarrah wrote:
Not possible. There are several ways to get Precise Shot by level 1 (fighter / zen archer / human / etc.), the ranger can pick it up by level 2 (crossbow fighting style from APG).

Also Divine Hunter (paladin), and the original Archery combat style from Core.

(For longbow-wielding rangers, though, Crossbow style is oddly the better choice, because you get all the normal feats and Deadly Aim as options. Since Archery style was built before Deadly Aim existed, that feat isn't available for Archery style.)

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