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Madge Blossomheart

Gwen Smith's page

FullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle. 2,065 posts (2,587 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 16 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.


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There's the Flying Kick ability of the unchained monk (scroll down to the "Style Strike" section).

Death from above might apply

Janni Rush helps here

There are probably some others, too.

It takes a full round to throw a two-handed weapon, so you would need a light or one-handed weapon that has the "monk" quality.

Yes, it's perfectly legal to flurry with thrown monk weapons. There's even an archetype (Far Strike Monk) build around the concept.

I had a player who shape shifted into a tiny animal. He wanted to ride on another player's shoulder so he could use the other player's movement and then get a full attack.

I used the mounted combat rules to say that if his "mount" moved more than 5 feet, he could only take a single attack.

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

I know that we have several veterans in the Seattle PFS groups, but off the top of my head, I don't know what venues each of them play at.

You can go to (the local board for the Pacific Northwest as a whole), sign up for the forums, and then post your question over there.

You can also contact the venture captain for the southern Puget Sound/South of Seattle area, Larry Smith.

Your nephew is always welcome to come to any of our venues. He can try out a game, sit and watch, or just talk to people at the store about it--whatever he's comfortable with. One of the good things about PFS is that you can put in as much or as little commitment as you want: you don't have to sign up for a weekly game for the next 3 years.

We recently moved to the Seattle area from Texas, and we found that PFS was a great way to get connected to the local gaming community. Many PFS players also play console games, MMOs, board games, etc., so it's a fairly laid-back, non-threatening way to meet new people. Many players who move to a new area play PFS long enough to form a home group and then stop--which is perfectly fine! Others get sucked in and become venture officers--which is perfectly fine, too!

Let us know how we can help.

The "running up the wall" bit would actually be a Climb check, not an Acrobatics check, and he can use tricks like Wall Climber and Wall Scramble to halp out with these.

We have several Acrobat players in our area, and they typically use jump to ignore difficult terrain and obstacles. When they need to get up a wall, we usually let them jump up the wall as high as they can (Acrobatics check) and then climb the rest of the way up (Climb check). For a vertical leap, the DC is 4x(distance in feet), so a 10 foot jump would be a DC 40.

So it sounds like his current Acrobatics levels would let him leap about 6-8 feet up a wall (and that's typically where his feet would land, so we usually let their hands grab on a foot or two higher), and anything past that would be a Climb check.

(Also note that he can't jump or climb further than his normal running speed, and unless he has some tricks up his sleeve, he can't change direction on a charge.)

DM_Blake wrote:
Gwen, I like your philosophical digression; I'm always up for philosophy.

Continued Digression:

The legal approach is not really a legitimate philosophical approach to game rules. Certainly not to board games like chess where the list of permitted rules is very short (a few dozen rules) and the list of omitted rules is literally thousands, or even millions, of times longer.

It's certainly true that board games are "type 1", but many social games are "type 2". Games like tag or charades or improv games generally have a strong framework but within that framework, nearly anything goes.

I think this might be crux of the philosophical issue: do you consider an RPG to be more like board game or more like a social game like tag or charades or improv games?

In a RPG like Pathfinder, the gap is narrowed somewhat because the list of permitted rules is thousands of pages long by this time, counting all the books.

The other problem is that no rule set can ever anticipate all the possible creative options that players will come up with. In that sense, an RPG is much closer to real life than than it is a board game.

Also, if you think of an RPG as a joint storytelling experience with the GM as the narrator, then the "type 2" approach is more appropriate. If the player says "I want to do X," the GM's "job" is to figure out how to make it work. In that sense, the rules can't be "type 1."

If you think of an RPG as a live-action board game, then "type 1" rules interpretation is more appropriate.

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Skylancer4 wrote:

Basically if you want to do something you need to find the rule that allows you to do it. That is just the way the rules set is made/set up. And it is why the argument of " the rules don't tell me I can't " is so obnoxious, because once someone gets to that point you have to realize that the person saying that doesn't really understand the core fundamentals of the game mechanics/rules.

It absolutely isn't that the rules are "unclear" it is that people want something from the rules for whatever reason, and the rules don't allow it. And because there are no rules regarding it, they try to work in the action they want either with "it doesn't say I can't" or "they obviously meant to allow it and didn't say anything", when it is plain as day that the rules don't have any way to allow the action/event.

Do you actually mean to say that anyone who has ever asked this question is either completely ignorant or trying to exploit the game? If that is what you meant, that's kind of offensive.

A lot of people who have asked this question are just trying to make the rule make sense. Right now, if I'm nauseated:
-- I can't drop something that I'm holding
-- I can't fall to the ground
-- I can't speak (or communicate in any way, really)
-- I can't end a rage
and so on. That doesn't seem to make any sense, so people are wondering if that's really what the rules say.

And most of the people that I see asking this question are experienced GMs who really stop to consider what the full implications of the rule interpretation are, and often it's because they have spotted an odd interaction or a corner case that many people wouldn't be aware of.

As it stands now, being nauseated is a more restrictive condition than being staggered, which seems odd: most people would think "I'm only one hit point away from falling unconscious and dying" would be a more serious condition than "I'm going to throw up."

(Also note that I didn't dispute the original statement regarding how the rules work: I just asked if there was an explicit statement somewhere that we could reference, because that kind of thing causes a lot of confusion.)

Philosophical digression:

Skylancer4 wrote:
Basically if you want to do something you need to find the rule that allows you to do it. That is just the way the rules set is made/set up.

Actually, "the rules don't say I can't" is a legitimate philosophical approach to rules texts, and to new gamers, that's likely the default approach because the most common "normal life" set of rules--the law--is usually handled that way:

1) In some rule sets/laws, everything is allowed except that which is expressly forbidden. In this approach, the rules tell you only what you can't do.

2) In some rule sets/laws, everything is forbidden except that which is expressly allowed. In this approach, the rules tell you only what you can do.

3) In many rule sets/laws, there is a mix of these two approaches, depending on the realm or area under consideration. To take the parking example, in most places, you are allowed to park unless a sign specifically forbids it. However, if you go to a parking lot, you are only allowed to park in designated areas--i.e., you can't park there unless the stripes specifically allow it.

While it's true that the second approach is much more common in games overall, it is not a universal truth. Unless there's a statement by the game designers indicating the approach, the first approach is still a legitimate philosophical approach to the rules.

I think the third approach is actually what most GMs use, whether they realize it or not. Anytime the game rules includes statement along the lines of "the GM should reward player creativity" or "these are just examples--the GM should not restrict players to these examples," it seems like a pretty clear indication that this is not intended to be a 100% restrictive rule set.

zainale wrote:
say i am lvl 6 and i am a lvl 2 fighter and a lvl 4 alchemist. anyways how many skill points can i put into the skill is it based on lvl? or based on class lvl? can my character have 6 skill points in a skill or 2 and 4 based on the class the skill is attached to.

From the PRD: "You can never have more ranks in a skill than your total number of Hit Dice."

Hit Dice means your total character level, so you can have 6 skill points in a skill.

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The reason to move a rules question that digresses into house rule questions is very simple: We don't want to confuse new players who come to the forums.

In the future, people looking for a rules clarification will run a search on the rules forum. They might not read the whole thread; they might only see a few lines from a post in the search results and think they have the answer they were looking for. If they don't read the whole thread closely, they won't realize that this thread wandered into home ruling territory or exactly where in the thread that happened.

Moving the thread to the home rule forum prevents that confusion.

It's not intended to stifle digressive discussions or "punish" someone for wanting to make a house rule: it's just to make sure that someone who reads this thread 3-4 years from now will understand what's going on.

That's all.

Chemlak wrote:
The rules are clear: no. The rules do not generally allow one action type to be used for another. The exception that proves the rule being standard to move, as we all know.

Just curious: is that rule stated anywhere or is it merely inferred?

We often see threads asking about trading out a move for a swift action, which indicates to me that the rules are not clear on this topic. If you know a place where this general rule is stated, that would help a lot.

GM SpiderBeard wrote:
Dejik climbed 15' with the haste spell so has 25' left to go. She can climb and Sarkast will have his actions remaining.[/ooc]

I don't think Dejik was close enough to be in the Haste spell. She was 40 feet away from the next closest person, even if Nilus could see her in the pit.

j b 200 wrote:
Grunyar StoneFist wrote:
On the other hand, if you are the target of the grapple (Grapplee?) You can still attack with light or one handed weapons. If you look at the grapple combat section, there's a FAQ that states you can still full attack if you're the grappled, although at a -2 to hit.
This is likely a net zero since the target has -4 pentalty to Dex (unless you are using Weapon Finesse, in which case your attacks have -4 [-2 from grappled plus -2 from the Dex penalty].

Most often, this is true, but a lot of creatures and grappling builds do have tricks that let them not take that penalty or not get the grappled condition. wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
This is debatable. That rule is in the "Cross Narrow Surfaces/Uneven Ground" section and there's no reason to assume it applies to other uses of Acrobatics - if the authors wanted it to be applied to all uses, they would have (should have) put this sentence elsewhere.

Interesting. Honestly, the whole skill needs a re-write as I've seen people in several threads believe all sorts of different things.

Our group has always applied the 'take damage while using Acrobatics, make another Acrobatics check' sentence to every use of Acrobatics since it seemed like a logical thing & something that should be a cpnstant.

(although frankly the DC should be based on the damage rather than simply re-doing the same DC)

Since that line actually comes in the first paragraph, it only describe moving across a narrow ledge. It follows the line "While you are using Acrobatics in this way, you are considered flat-footed and lose your Dexterity bonus to your AC (if any)," (which no one has ever tried to apply to any other use of Acrobatics), and the next paragraph introduces a completely new topic with the words "In addition."

There's no indication that we should read that sentence as applying to all uses of Acrobatics, and a few very strong indicators that it does not. Honestly, it would be a good question on a critical reading test, but the "correct" answer on such a test would be "This sentence only applies to the first use of Acrobatics."

Standard disclaimer: in your home games, you should run it however you like.

N N 959 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Throw in Breadth of Experience (feat) and Noble Scion (trait) and now he just needs to roll a 13 or higher.

When I see a Wizard with either one of those feats, it'll be the firs time. What you're overlooking is all the stuff the wizard has to give up to get those bonus. And even with those bonuses, there's no guarantee you'll meet a creature for which that's beneficial. So, I, as a GM, am not going to nerf K. checks for someone that invests in them. Why shouldn't the wizard who can tell you how to defeat said creature be just as important as the sorcerer who can cast hightened empowred maximized firebal on occasion?

DM_Blake wrote:
If that character is an investigator, he'll be adding about 15-20% to his chances on those rolls, putting him up to knowing every detail about approximately 55-60% of all monsters in the game - and he'll only get better with higher levels. Not too hard to achieve?
The Knowledge master must be actively nerfed, but the trip master or grapple master is fine? Investigators don't just get max skills in every K skill. Investing in those skills comes at a cost. One of the very reasons to play the class is to be able to dole out that info. Why not reward people who want to do something other than carry a big sword or spam save or suck spells?

I have a mindchemist alchemist who is specifically a knowledge monkey (the character is an insufferable know-it-all). At level 3, she has a base +16 in all knowledge checks (except nobility, because they're snobs), and she can boost that to a +22.

I burned her first level feat on Breadth of Experience, multi-classed into two archetypes that specifically give her bonuses on knowledge checks, swapped out her mutagen for more Int, and she dedicates at least 30% of her consumables to boosting her knowledge checks.

At third level, she really doesn't do much else...

Just remember that the caster level of the scroll is the minimum caster level to cast that spell. So if a Level 12 wizard casts a scroll of Communal Darkvision, he still casts it at 5th level (the minimum caster level for a 3rd level spell). As the GM, you can choose to let them buy/make scrolls at higher caster levels, but the default is the minimum caster level for the spell.

Since the number of targets and/or duration for communal spells is usually based on caster level, you will want to make this clear so your players know exactly what to expect.

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

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Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Fromper wrote:

But I'm thinking of gods like Lamashtu and Rovagug. Why would anyone non-evil worship them? And why would those worshipers join the Pathfinder Society? And the same for many other evil deities.


Religion in real life is often about your parents/family. Did being faithful to a god earn you respect from friends/family? Did you join a faith to spite your family/friends?

In another sense, people often begin to revere things that seem beyond human control. Mountains, the Sun, Death, and sometimes living things. If a person is later told that the object of their devotion is within the power of a specific deity, they may transfer their faith to the deity.

And lastly, a person's reason for faith may have nothing to do with the deity, but instead a desire to be with/like another member of the faith. Or perhaps they just enjoy the sense of community that their religion offers.

"I'm only a paladin because it pisses off my chaotic evil father!"

You know, I think that is actually Ragathiel's backstory...

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

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Kahel Stormbender wrote:

Personally, I find HL gets me to buy books. I see some interesting option when tinkering with a character, and note what book it's in. Then at some point I end up going "gee, I wish I had that" during a PFS session. Then when I get home, I end up buying that book.

Then again, I ended up buying some books after someone in my lodge pulled out an option or mentioned an option in passing. I go "What book's that in?" Then end up buying the book. And probably the herolab data package too.

Heck, today I wound up buying the Pathfinder Society Primer early on in our session after someone mentioned cracked ioun stones. Specifically, one that would negate the risk of being Dominated or Charmed.

Off topic:

If you're thinking of the Clear Spindle ioun stone's resonant power, I don't think you can get that from a cracked version. Generally, only the intact ioun stones can be slotted in a wayfinder to get the resonant power.

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

As an alternative, I've used labels before. Just scan in your signature, buy some appropriately-sized labels (the file folder labels are about right, and use the correct label template in your word processor.

Using label templates:

Every word processor I've used since at least 1997 has templates for Avery labels built in, and most labels have a "Same measurements as Avery XXXX" note on the packaging. Just match up the Avery code for your label with the template in your word processor.

If your word processor doesn't have the Avery label templates, you can either download one from Avery's site or use a ruler to measure the label sheet and just create a table with fixed cell sizes that match the label measurements.

A few nice things about this method: You only have to make the template once, then save the file to reprint it. Labels are flat and easy to stick into a folder, and you don't have to worry about ink.

Also, for conventions, we'll use the same method to make a set of event, event code, and date labels, then put a set on each table along with the sign in sheets so GMs don't have to worry about it.

Eldon RowDragon wrote:


Is there any rule which helps me defend someone else from melee attacks?
As PC I would like to defend the wizard of the party, as a DM I would like to defend the traitor king from the party. But the rules let the attacker walk round the defender and directly attack the defended person. So, how can I prevent a single attacker pass me?

If you have a 5-foot hallway or doorway, you can block it completely, and they can't get past you without an acrobatics check. (10 foot hallway requires two blockers, though.)

But like Chess Pwn said, there aren't a lot of options. In general, you want to stand at least 5 feet ahead of the person you're guarding so that the attackers always provoke an attack of opportunity to get to your ward. If the attackers have reach, you need to be 10 feet ahead.

Get Combat Reflexes and Improved Trip. Get a reach weapon and have unarmed strike to threaten adjacent to you. When the bad guys try to get past you, trip them in the square in front of you. Then, they will provoke standing up (and you attack them again) and provoke again when they start to move past you.

Take a 5 foot step back and repeat as necessary.

Blymurkla wrote:

I usually give away some non-useful information with whatever useful bits the players are entitled to after a knowledge check.

Knowing just a name and the information that the monster is weak against silver but can resist magic you face a very bland monster. Sure, the players get a description of how it looks too. Maybe some dialogue. But there's often a lot more than that in a monsters description that the player's never gonna hear of unless I tell them.

I usually give them the at least the tagline description along with the type, sub-type, and general traits as part of the "identify the monster" check. (If the players are new, I usually give them more than just the tagline for the description.)

We have players who have started asking for the "fluff" as part of their knowledge check. That's really cool, but it means I have to remember to grab that along with the stat block... :-)

outshyn wrote:
The Goat Lord wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
The Goat Lord wrote:
In addition to the advice above, another option is to make your own monsters. Kind of cheap, but it will help you keep the mystery you want to achieve. You can even use the stats for a monster from the book and re-skin it as a new monster.
That does not help with knowledge checks. Unless your new critter was just created in a lab by a mad scientist there is lore on it somewhere that is represented by the knowledge check.
My suggestion implied just that: a new creature recently loosed upon the world.

Even if your suggestion did not imply that, it's still useful as a way to prevent metagaming. You can take a simple goblin stat block, rename it to goshena, and describe the creature as having horns, fur, and cat-like eyes. Use the stat block exactly as a normal goblin, but just revise the flavor text. The players will have zero clue what they are facing, and will be forced to rely upon knowledge checks to figure it out. This syncs up the character and the player. They both are in the same position: they must rely solely upon what the character gleans from the check, and will only be able to execute actions based upon that limited knowledge.

I did that recently with a dragon. Just renamed it to skydrake, and converted its breath attack to a roar that affects those within 30'. It seemed to throw off all preconceptions and the ability to metagame was diminished.

Why don't you just ban knowledge skills from your game? It would cause many fewer problems.

I have a character who has invested quite a bit into knowledge skills as her main "thing": at level 3, she can get up to a +18 in all knowledge skills (except knowledge nobility, because who care about them?).

Needless to say, I would be really, really annoyed if the GM decided that there were creatures in the world that don't get any knowledge checks because "metagaming".

Making knowledge checks isn't "metagaming"--it's just plain old gaming. Knowledge checks are the rules mechanic that represents what the character knows about certain aspects of the world. It's no more metagaming than rolling an attack roll.

Mike J wrote:

Something that I use that has been very effective is allowing one yes-no question for every 5 they beat the DC. The PC can ask anything they want provided it is a yes-no question. This has had a two-fold benefit: It severely limits the possibility of abusing the information (yes-no is extremely limiting) and it makes having a high Knowledge skill very useful.

However, it sounds like you've gotten some great advice already.

I would be hard-pressed to come up with yes/no questions that would be useful.

Suppose I beat the DC by 15 and get 3 pieces of useful information. "Does it have DR?" "Yes." okaaaay...but I still don't know how to bypass it.

"Is it bypassed by silver?" "No."

"Is it bypassed by cold iron?" "No." Three questions, down, and I still don't have anything actually "useful"...

On the other hand, "What kind of DR does it have?" "5/bludgeoning" is a single question that tells the players exactly what they have to do.

I've had players beat the DC by high enough that I just hand them stat block, usually with some joke like, "OK, his name is 'Bob'..."

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

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Nefreet wrote:
Ask any Linguistic Anthropologist.

Oh, heck, just ask any English literature major.

There's a whole school of criticism that claims that no text has any inherent meaning, including whatever meaning the author intended. The basic idea is that meaning only exists in the act of reading a text and that each reader brings their own experience to the text. The net result is that the same text is supposed to have a different meaning for each individual reader, therefore no text can possibly have any objective meaning at all. Ever.

Speaking as a technical writer, I think that's an extreme position, but it is a legitimate movement in literary criticism.

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

trollbill wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Philo Pharynx wrote:
As for the Player vs. GM idea, a GM that automatically assumes that technology is inherently disruptive is equally so.
Nobody to my knowledge has ever made this claim.
I will make that claim. All things new, by their nature, are disruptive. And technology, by its nature, is new. Ergo, technology, at least in the sense that we are referring to here, is disruptive. Of course, the entire point of technology is that the benefits of using it outweigh the detriments (including disruption). And the disruption it causes frequently diminishes over time as people get used to the new thing. So simply saying, "it's disruptive" is not a sufficient reason to dismiss it.

While your statement is correct in general, I think you're changing definitions of "disruptive" here. The original meaning in this conversation was "disruptive at the table" or "does it disrupt the game".

As far as the "which is better: digital vs. paper" argument, all I can say is "I pity the poor GM who has to read my handwriting."

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Claxon wrote:

@Gwen Smith

A fighters Weapon Training + Weapon Spec + Greater Weapon Spec is much larger than than the Zen Archer's Weapon Spec alone. Especially when considering Gloves of Dueling.

Zen Archer = +2 weapon spec
Fighter = +2 weapon spec + 2 greater weapon spec + 6 from weapon training (with gloves of dueling) = +10 to attack and damage

Which is exactly what I said in the first place: Weapon Training and Gloves of Dueling is what puts the fighter past the Zen Archer.

But Inquisitors and Rangers get none of those listed items.

Claxon wrote:

For Inquisitors, Bane (and eventually Greater Bane) + Judgement + Divine Favor (and later Divine Power) is a huge damage bonus and attack bonus.

Greater Bane is 4d6+2, judgment is +7, and divine power (with fate's favored) is +7. That's +30 damage (average). Admittedly, it takes a couple rounds to get everything activated. (Round 1, judgement and cast spell, round 2 bane and full attack). With the side effect of the Inquisitor being able to haste himself if there is a bard or other buffer around to do so.

How many rounds does that take to set up, though? And how many times per day can it be used? (I don't have a method of calculating those kinds of variables in a consistent way, so I can't make any comments on long-term statistical damage averages. If you have any suggestions, I'd be interested in hearing them.)

(And you're starting to include general buff spells here, which means you're no longer using an apples to apples comparison. You have to count the opportunity cost of casting the spells.)

Claxon wrote:
Rangers, are actually worse off against things not their favored enemy compared to a Zen Archer. But against their favored enemy they can do a lot more. And once they get Instant Enemy at level 10 they can choose to pull it out at any time. That's a +10 to attack and damage.

First, any time you use a round to cast a spell, you need to then account for the damage that you lost by using that round to cast. (I've done this with both Gravity Bow and Aspect of the Falcon--it can take 4 rounds to make up the damage lost when you spend a round to cast a spell.)

Second, you need to factor in the frequency with which you face your favored enemy. You can do this if you already know the type of game you're playing (e.g., I guess Iron Gods has a much higher percentage of constructs, Wrath of the Righteous has a lot of demons, etc.), but I don't know a way to generalize that into a global variable.

Third, Weapon Masters Handbook has a Dedicated Enemy feat that gives anyone the equivalent of a favored enemy (and a brawler can theoretically get that as a move action one he identifies the creature), so that dulls the ranger's advantage slightly compared to other martials.

Claxon wrote:
Admittedly this all looking at level 20, but only because that's the easiest place to look at bonuses. At lower levels the discrepancy isn't as bad.

I never do single level comparisons, because I need my characters to be effective at all levels. And I honestly never even look at level 20 for a measure, because in 30+ years of playing different RPGs, I have played at level 20 exactly once, in a game that started at that level. Unless you always play at level 20, level 20 comparisons are useless.

I play PFS most of the time, so I stop my comparisons around levels 12-14, where 90% of my characters will top out. (This is also why I'm very clear in my comparisons which levels I'm talking about.)

Claxon wrote:

The overall point is that once you reach mid levels the zen archer doesn't keep up with static damage modifiers, with the problem compounded by the fact that they don't get really anything in the way of attack bonus modifiers.

The ranger and fighter both get a +10 to attack and damage.

The inquisitor gets a +5 from judgment and a +7 from divine power and +2 from bane for a +14 to hit (which makes up for their lesser BAB though they are two attacks down compared to the monk).

Ranger's and Inquisitor have the added bonuses of easily getting a mount which preserve their ability to move and full attack, which is the best bonus any archer can really get since archer damage drops off hugely if they can't full attack.

First, they have to have the Mounted Skirmisher feat to take a full attack when their mount moves more than 5 feet (which also requires Mounted Combat, Trick Riding, and 14 ranks in Ride). That's a total of 3 less feats dedicated to the already-packed archery requirements.

Second, if they don't have Mounted Archery, they take a -4 to the attack.

Third, at 6th level, the Zen Archer can already outrun the horse on foot anyway, so while both archers will only get to take a single attack, the Zen Archer is 60 feet up instead of 50 feet.

Fourth, at 6th level, the Zen Archer also ignores everything except total cover from 110 ft away: if there's a clear path for a large mount to move, odds are pretty good Improved Precise Shot will cover the situation nicely, too. (This also applies to the ranger, BTW, if he takes Improved Precise Shot instead of Point Blank Master at level 6.)



In general, I try to make these kinds of comparisons match actual game play as much as possible. I've done things like make the most optimum DPR choices for each character at each level, factor in cover and concealment (and cover is much more of a problem here), reduced the Point Blank Shot bonus until the character gets Point Blank Master (since before then, the character tends to avoid getting that close), dropped different factors in and out to figure out which ones have the most effect, etc.

I'm not saying that any of your numbers are wrong: I'm just using a completely different set of criteria for comparison, and I'm still trying to find a way to quantify things like favored enemy in a consistent way.

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

Quentin Coldwater wrote:
All fair points. But I'm still convinced that it's fairly easy to calculate everything by hand, as long as you're methodical about it. I see lots of people keeping track on scrap paper, or even a notebook. Most bonuses apply all the time (not something like "+1 versus undead"), so it's a matter of organising and totaling your currently-running buffs. Takes a minute to jot down and you're good to go. Hell, I have a seperate line on my character sheet that lists damage output when Power Attack is on and off. No need to announce you're using it and then recalculating, just look at the sheet.

It's fairly easy for you. It's reasonably easy for me. It's ridiculously easy for my math-teacher husband. It's not easy for the people who never learned those organization techniques, nor is it easy for people with memory issues, math anxiety, performance anxiety, etc.

Quentin Coldwater wrote:
Okay, there's a player in our group who buffs everyone to the wazoo and you don't even know anymore what's coming from where, and how much it'll add, in that case I agree that a digital source is convenient.

My husband and I often run teamwork buffers. Several players in our area run debuffers. When we're at the table with one or more of the debuffers, it's hella complicated.

Quentin Coldwater wrote:
And yeah, I'll make an exception for people who can't do so otherwise. I know a girl who takes about five seconds to add three to 18. I don't know how she's passed high school, but she needs HL when things go into double digits.

One question: how do you know someone can't do so otherwise? Do you force them to not use their "crutch" and then determine whether their performance is acceptable? Who is authorized to do the evaluation? What if your version of acceptable is not the same as theirs?

As far as how the girl passed high school, I don't know--maybe when she was taking tests in high school, she didn't have 6 other people staring at her expectantly, waiting for her to do the math and potentially teasing her when she gets it wrong (even if your group never does that, if it happened in the past, the anxiety will likely remain)? This is just as likely to be shyness or "stage fright" as it is lack of math ability.

If you've ever taught someone with severe test anxiety, you can watch them know the material inside and out, even successfully tutor other students, and then watch them draw a complete blank the second they walk in the Testing Center.

And then there's those of who are getting older and watch our brains just flat out "skip a gear" as we stare at the die and try to remember what the hell we were doing...

Wrist sheaths. I'm sorry, but you can't put 5 arrows into a wrist sheath, much less conceal them there. You just can't.

For "real world simulation," I think Hero System had the best approach in the way the game round was structured, the way movement worked, the way offense and defense worked, separating "minor" injuries from "major" injuries (so you could actually kill someone without knocking them unconscious, and getting knocked unconscious didn't threaten your life), etc.

However, Hero System was really designed for home games and self-world building. It required a significant amount of rules mastery, and you couldn't "skip" any part of the rule set. You could completely customize your character, but you always had to completely customize your character. It didn't have an organized play group, and it didn't have the same quality of story and history in the "system's" world building.

My best analogy is that Hero System was designed by and for engineers, and Pathfinder was designed by and for writers and storytellers. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

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

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Andrew Christian wrote:
Jack Brown wrote:

I have no problem with using hero lab, as long as you use it correctly. I am sure that all of us that use it have forgotten to turn a bonus off, or other adjustment.

That being said I always have an up to date physical copy of my character with me, per the rules. While we cannot kick someone off, technically, for using just for using Hero Lab (other situations not withstanding), the player still has to have an up to date printed copy! And should still always be able to explain his or her bonuses.

Agreed. But I've had several instances of people with just paper who forget to not apply no longer available bonuses. That mistake is not inherent to Hero Labs. To be fair though, I've had at least the times as many times where paper people have trouble remembering to add a bonus.

Players not adding bonuses is the most common problem at my tables, and it is the thing that slows down combat the most.

Most rounds go something like this:
1) Player A rolls the die, goes through the math, and announces the total. I say "You missed," and then everyone at the table asks if they remembered the current bonuses. Player A determines whether he forgot any of the bonuses, redoes the math, and announces the new total. If I say "You hit," Player A rolls the damage, goes through the math, and announces the total. Different players who are offering damage buffs will ask if Player A remembered to include their bonus, too, and Player A goes through the math again.

2) Player B rolls the die, goes through the math, and announces the total. If I say "You miss," we repeat the same cycle we just went through with Player A, even though all of those bonuses were just announced 10 seconds ago.

2a) If I say "You still miss," about 30% of the time, someone at the table remembers another bonus, or they call out a bonus that doesn't currently apply or ask about a bonus that doesn't stack with another one (and sometimes they will argue for it and we have to stop and adjudicate that). If there was an additional bonus for attack or damage, sometimes Player A will say, "Oh, I forgot that, too--would that have made me hit?" or "Oh, buff Z is up, too? Add 1 more damage to my hit."

3) GM bangs her head on the table repeatedly while the store owner reminds them that he's closing in 15 minutes.

This happens almost every round, even when buffing players have table tents or buff cards. It also happens when the rolling player announces all the buffs and adds the bonuses before the roll.

So we currently have a person doing math in their head with multiple elements, then we discuss adding and subtracting elements, and then the person redoes the math in their head. That, to me, is just asking for errors. (There's a reason we invented adding machines, much less spreadsheets!) As a GM, I have no way of knowing whether the player did include the buff the first time and flat-out lied when they said they didn't, and I have no way of knowing whether the player did include the buff the first time and honestly got confused or forgot that they had.

With digital character managers, the round looks like this:
Player A asks what buffs are up, changes the settings, rolls the die and announces the total. If I say, "You miss," everyone asks if he remembered all the buffs, and Player A says, "Yes, I have it all turned on--I just checked." And on the next round, the settings are already there, and Player A just rolls the die.

And it's Player B's turn. About 70% of the time, Player B updated his settings while he was helping Player A remember the buffs, and sometimes he confirms any buffs he's not certain about, rolls the die, and announces the total. About 30% of the time, Player B was not paying attention, and we do another round of "did you remember Buff Z?" But again, on the following round, the settings are already there, so the "buff quiz" only lasts one round.

So I have many more problems with disruption caused by paper character sheets, just from this factor alone. That does not include people not knowing how to read their paper character sheets, flipping through page after page trying to find the listing for a particular piece of gear, trying to remember to mark off daily uses of a feature, marking off spells in multiple locations and forgetting to add them up, losing pages of character sheets, forgetting to erase a bonus when it goes away...

This FAQ implies that "draw" and "sheathe" are essentially the same action, just two different aspects of it. The text for Quick Draw says "You can draw a weapon as a free action instead of as a move action."

If you read the action as "draw/sheathe a weapon" (essentially two sides of the same action), then I think you have a strong argument that Quick Draw lets you sheathe a weapon as a free action.

If, on the other hand, your GM reads the the action as "draw a weapon or sheathe a weapon" (i.e., two actions that are often spoken of together), then you probably don't have a chance.

Claxon wrote:
Gwen Smith wrote:

In the long run, fighters will do more damage than Zen Archers (I did a level-by-level comparison with the Weapon Master fighter archetype up through level 12). The primary advantages the fighter has are:

- Weapon Training (so never take an archetype that trades that out!)
- Manyshot (so always take Manyshot as soon as possible and use it every round until you run out of arrows)
I feel like your mostly agreeing with the general statement I made, I just didn't go into as much depth as you did. My overall statement was more that the general measure people take of archery classes is DPR, and the Zen Archer doesn't keep up with other classes. Fighter, Inquisitor, Ranger (against FE and basically everyone at level 10). The only substantial flaw I find with Zen Archer's is their lack of static damage bonus. I think they're great for dipping, and can be fun to play straight. But if your goal is DPR there are better classes to play (that will admit take longer to get good but will be better in the long run).

I'm mostly confused by your reasoning about the static damage, I guess, and I disagree with Inquisitor and the Ranger.

Based on my calculations, the two things that make the fighter do more damage than the Zen Archer are Weapon Training (combined with Gloves of Dueling) and Manyshot. If you remove those two factors, Zen Archers hold up very well against fighters throughout their careers, especially since they get an additional iterative attack at level 8 that fighters never get.

As far as static damage bonuses go, the fighter gets Weapon Training and Weapon Specialization (normal and Greater). The Zen Archer does get Weapon Specialization. What other static damage bonuses does the fighter get that the Zen Archer can't? (Everyone can get Deadly Aim, so I'm ignoring that for this discussion.)

Inquisitors and rangers can't get Weapon Training or Weapon Specialization, and the judgement bonuses don't scale as well as these two, and the ranger has to be fighting his favored enemy all the time for that to count (that will be a game-dependent variable). The Inquisitor also suffers from a 3/4 BAB, so his Deadly Aim bonus and iterative attacks will also lag compared to the others. (Zen Archer counts as full BAB when flurrying, so the Deadly Aim bonus and iterative attacks scale exactly the same as the fighter and the ranger.)

I haven't done the level by level of ranger and inquisitor, but if the key factor is truly the fighter's static bonuses, then these two classes should do no better than a Zen Archer, and the inquisitor at least would probably do worse.

That said, back on the OP's question: each build has a different focus and flavor. Even when we're talking about just DPR, we're talking about a difference of less than 5 points per round on most levels, and it topped out around 10 points per round. To me, that much extra damage isn't worth playing a class you won't enjoy.

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

trollbill wrote:
7) I was warned by a new to PFS GM that he was a stickler on alignments and would not allow things like Paladins looting dead bodies. While I wasn't playing a Paladin at this table, I was playing a Lawful Good cleric. However, it turned out he really wasn't the stickler he claimed to be and there were no problems. This is the closest I have experienced to the Paladin hating GM trope in PFS.

So first I'm curious as to why the GM thought that paladins couldn't loot dead bodies: was it not lawful (and under whose jurisdiction) or evil (and by which deity's definition)?

Second, I'm curious as to why the GM didn't care about a Lawful Good cleric doing something that he insisted was out of bounds for a paladin (since they both have class features tied to their alignment)?

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Claxon wrote:
I just want to say, everyone keeps talking about how great a Zen Archer monk is, and not that they are a bad class. They're heavily front loaded, and give a lot of feats and are great...for a dip class IMO. However, the Zen Archer doesn't get any serious static damage modifiers to his arrows and that is how you build substantial damage. Sure he can spend a ki point to change the damage to his unarmed strike damage, but that just isn't enough.

Actually, the Zen Archer gets Weapon Specialization at level 6, only two levels after the fighter can get it. The Zen Archer's primary advantage over the fighter is getting feats early (Point Blank Master at level 3 and Improved Precise Shot at level 6 are the big ones). The non-damage advantages are great saves, better armor class (because Dex-based fighters don't do well in heavy armor), and high mobility.

And Zen Archers should always spend the ki point for the extra arrow: only use the "make your damage match the unarmed strike" if you are Large (e.g., through Enlarge Person) or have Lead Blades running (or both). But if you spend a round to cast either of those spells yourself, you'll take about 4 rounds to make up the damage you lost the round you cast it.

On the flip side:
In the long run, fighters will do more damage than Zen Archers (I did a level-by-level comparison with the Weapon Master fighter archetype up through level 12). The primary advantages the fighter has are:
- Weapon Training (so never take an archetype that trades that out!)
- Manyshot (so always take Manyshot as soon as possible and use it every round until you run out of arrows)

(While it it possible for a Zen Archer to use Rapid Shot and Manyshot without flurrying, that drops you down to 3/4 BAB, and you're usually just better off flurrying.)

Those two parts make the fighter's damage outpace the Zen Archer starting around level 5-6, and the Zen Archer never quite catches up. Once the fighter can afford Gloves of Dueling, he pulls way ahead of the Zen Archer, even without getting Improved Precise Shot until level 11.

So if straight DPR over the course of your career is all you care about, Weapon Master Fighter is the way to go.

I still play Zen Archers almost every time, though--I just find them a lot more fun. If you're dipping ZA, your best exit points are:
- level 3 (for wisdom to attack and PBM)
- level 6 (for Improved Precise Shot and weapon specialization)
- level 7 (because Monk's robe will bump your effective monk levels for unarmed strike damage and AC bonus to 12, which is the 2d6 break point)

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Gwen Smith wrote:

"Scarf" in this world is probably more like a belly dance hip scarf or a square scarf, but these might actually work better for your plan. (I have seen 2 small square scarves use to make a pillow; you could do it with 1 larger one easily.)

The thin "crochet ascot" scarf most people think of these days is post-1600s in Europe and the Middle East. (My costuming knowledge ends there, so I don't know how much past 1600 it might be--could be 1675 for all I know.) :-)

Knitting dates back to at least the 13th century IRL, doesn't it? And pretty much the first thing you knit when you learn how to knit is a scarf (since it's good practice for the basic technique and requires very little thinking beyond counting.) I would imagine that people in cold weather environments would have been knitting woolens since time immemorial in cold places where herding is a primary vocation.

All I can tell you is that in the SCA, various Renaissance Fairs, and historic-oriented belly dance troupes, I've never run across a "soccer scarf" style. I've seen a reference that the modern-style knit scarf was invented in 1783 by the Third Duke of Krakow but I don't see a citation.

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

bowser36 wrote:

"A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good."

What does that mean?

Well, it means that if you get a henchman, he/she must be lawful good.

It's actually not that relevant to PFS, though, because you don't usually have any followers.

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

Bhagrur wrote:
The accounts are generic and setup per tablet just so they have a way to move their character around the map. And I pretty much figured it was legal as Jared said "online gaming wouldn't work". And according to Paizo online games are legal. But I wanted to make sure there wasn't something that stated physical table games require physical maps. The VC I'm working with didn't seem interested in me running my games this way.

As long as the players can see their characters in relation to the bad guys, I can't think of any reason it would be a problem. It's more an issue of whether your players can adjust to it.

murno wrote:

Different but related question

When a charging rider and mount are subject to an attack of opportunity can an opponent target both with separate attacks (assuming they have the expertise and dex for multiple attacks) or only the mount (which is moving)?

I think this FAQ implies that they would both provoke, because they are both charging in unison.

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

kinevon wrote:
I am still waiting, with dread, for the 7 player table, all with some sort of companion, whether it is an animal companion, eidolon, mount, improved familiar, or what-have-you. Even the Hard Mode scenarios probably won't do well against that table with "14 plus summons". If, indeed, there is even room for everyone/everything to fit into any particular room...

I once agreed to take a 7th player so that the odd man out wouldn't be turned away (and have to wait 5 hours for his ride, doing nothing). It was a 5-9, playing up. Then I found out that 5 of the players had pets.


We had to split the scenario over 2 nights: it took almost 10 hours, start to finish.

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I think the spell you're looking for is Reloading Hands.

Del_Taco_Eater wrote:

There is a rule in pathfinder I'm recalling that untyped bonuses stack. A paladin's divine grace and a swashbuckler's charmed life both let you add your charisma modifier as an untyped bonus to saving throws. Do these (or similar cases) stack?


They used to, but there was an FAQ that changed this.

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

Flutter wrote:
Given how cheap dragonhide armor is fair trade cruelty free collection of shed scales appears to be quite possible.

And given that a certain faction leader has a personal interest in promoting friendly relations with dragons, it's probably even encouraged.

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Human Fighter wrote:
@Secret Wizard, just to make it clear, I pointed out verbatim what the document says it has authority over. In our game we agreed to anything in paizo publishing. Unless our GM wants to go with the designers follow up, I will advocate for the player to get whatever they're entitled to with how the rules are written (including official errata that effects pathfinder in general), which sadly I believe doesn't happen for companion books.

The developer's follow up says "This is not errata or a FAQ, just how I read the ability." So the verbatim itself doesn't change: this is just the developer explaining how to read it, e.g., that skills and saves do not count as "abilities" and that you must have a slam attack in order for any of the abilities that effect the slam attack.

That entire clarification is an interpretation, but it's an interpretation by an expert in the field. Your GM may still decide to rule it differently, but most people here will default to the developer's interpretation as "RAW".

PossibleCabbage wrote:
My Self wrote:
If your pillow is a single scarf, then yes, it is a valid target of the spell.
Considering that scarves can be of arbitrary length (c.f. Tom Baker's 12' long scarf on Dr. Who), and if you sew pin or sew a scarf into a tube it will still be a scarf (the stitching or pins are more easily removed than the weaving, crocheting, or knitting), then you could just take a single especially long scarf, wrap it into a spiral, sew it, and stuff it with feathers. So this should work.

"Scarf" in this world is probably more like a belly dance hip scarf or a square scarf, but these might actually work better for your plan. (I have seen 2 small square scarves use to make a pillow; you could do it with 1 larger one easily.)

The thin "crochet ascot" scarf most people think of these days is post-1600s in Europe and the Middle East. (My costuming knowledge ends there, so I don't know how much past 1600 it might be--could be 1675 for all I know.) :-)

VRMH wrote:
Artifix wrote:
I disagree. If anything, Monks are more dependant on good gear than other martials - mundane stuff tends to not help them one bit; they need magic to keep up.

What kind of gear do monks need to keep up?

Outside of something like Mage Armor, most of my monks don't rely on any gear, magic or otherwise. Their unarmed strikes count as magic pretty early on, so they always have a magic weapon on hand. They don't need any armor, speed boosts, save boosts, etc., and their class-based damage and AC both scale with level. With something like a Sensei or a Zen Archer that uses Wisdom for both attacks and AC, and you can even get away without a stat boosting item for a long time.

And Qinggong Monks can replicate several spells with their ki powers.

Tomos wrote:

I have a 9th level Cleric in PFS.

Some things I've found useful:
Carry around a Handy Haversack with a "scroll library".
Having scrolls of most of the utility spells that you might need is really useful.
Get scrolls of all "remove X" spells (remove disease, remove curse, break enchantment, etc.)
Scrolls of spells like Daylight, Invisibility Purge, Death Ward, Resist Energy, Wind Wall, Endure Elements can be very useful.
Scrolls of Restoration (with 100gp component cost)
Scrolls of Lesser Restoration (I carry 10, usually don't need that many)

That way, you can whip out the solution to whatever problem/condition comes up. It's relatively cheap and can save the day.

Seconded. I always get scrolls of spells that don't have level-dependent effect (outside of duration, that is): Daylight, Endure Elements, Glitterdust, Gust of Wind, Bull's Strength, Blessing of Fervor, Breath of Life, etc. Spells that improve by level like Shield of Faith, Magic Vestment, Communal Resist Energy, Barkskin, and so on I cast myself.

And one or two backup scrolls of your "daily" spells isn't a bad idea if you can afford it.

Is that it? Is that the Sword of Valor? Dejik looks around. I would have expected guards, maybe...

Dejik scans the area with Detect Magic and Detect Evil (she also still has Death Watch up).

PossibleCabbage wrote:
One of the things that makes the ZAM a top-notch archer is that the ZAM is quite possibly the archer that is least vulnerable to the "big dumb melee guy charges you" strategy, what with PBM and tremendous mobility.

And Improved Unarmed Strike, so you threaten in melee from level 1. And it's always great fun to watch people think they can run past the archer since he clearly doesn't have a melee weapon out...

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Improved precise shot early alone is worth way more than what the fighter gets. Go ranger.

If you're primarily after Improved Precise Shot, Zen Archer is a much better choice.

Ranger has to choose between Point Blank Master and Improved Precise Shot as the 6th level bonus feat. Unless you are in a long range game, the smart choice is Point Blank Master because there is no other way for the ranger to get this feat. Not provoking in melee lets you get more full attacks (because you don't have to keep moving away) and you can use the Point Blank Shot bonus damage (if you have it).
(Zen Archer already has Point Blank Master by level 6, so Improved Precise Shot is the obvious choice.)

A decent alternative, though, is a one level Warpriest dip with the Air blessing: that lets your weapon not provoke for one minute, which covers most combats. Warpriest 1/Ranger 6 gets you both Improved Precise Shot and the equivalent of Point Blank Master by level 7, well earlier than any fighter build can get it.

There's also the Deadeye Bowman trait, which helps with cover penalties; you'll still want Improved Precise Shot, but this trait makes it less painful while you're waiting for it.

Check to see if your GM is using the cover rules: a lot of GMs either ignore them or don't understand them or just don't like them. If your GM doesn't make you take soft cover penalties, Improved Precise Shot is much less valuable.

If you're taking a move action to infuse your weapons and/or don't have Fast Bombs yet, you could consider Focused Shot to add your Int bonus to damage a second time. (Grenadier alchemist is one of the few builds that Focused Shot is worthwhile for--I never recommend this for a plain archer.)

master_marshmallow wrote:
A weapon master fighter who focuses on archery can actually outpace the ranger I almost all regards except spells. You have to waste bonus feats on Advanced Weapon Training but you can have tyre equivalent of 6 skills per level, and flat damage on every attack, plus the weapon mastery feats give crazy good options that fighters didn't have previously which may cause some to over look it.

The Dedicated Adversary feat also lets the fighter (or anyone, really) pick a favored enemy type and get the attack and damage bonus (no other advantages, though).

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

Some other suggestions to add to the list:
If you are on Facebook, there is also a Pathfinder Society Facebook group.

Some groups use Warhorn or Meetup to arrange schedules.

If you tell us where you prefer to play, somebody here will most likely ping one of the coordinators for that area and ask them to check this thread. :-)

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