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Madge Blossomheart

Gwen Smith's page

FullStarFullStarFullStar RPG Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle. 1,289 posts (1,525 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 13 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.


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

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blackbloodtroll wrote:

Kreighton Shane is a fun one to RP.

Drendle Drang is my favorite, as he looks like a stoned dirty hobo, and I usually play him up as one.

Well, that and Grandmaster Torch, as he always meets you in the bath. I usually play him like "Dale the Whale" from Monk.

Oh I like that! I usually do Torch as "Hedonism Bot" from Futurama, but sometimes I think that's a bit too creepy.

This past Monday, we were coincidentally running two scenarios intro'd by Hamshanks (Tide of Morning and Citadel of Flame) simultaneously. The briefing in Citadel of Flame starts out with Hamshanks rushing in and complaining about not having enough time to do things right...because he had another team of agents waiting for him down the hall. (Finally, that opening bit made sense!)


Gol Zayvian wrote:
Less than is a mathematical expression. Miss chance is represented by a numerical value and is the only part of concealment that is referenced by IPS. Looking at this question as anything other than a mathematical equation is just grasping at straws to justify your desire to break the game. But honestly if its fun for you, break away.

The problem is that there are miss chances granted by things other than concealment. In logic terms:

"total concealment" implies "50% miss chance"
BUT
"50% miss chance" does not imply "total concealment"

(Anyone know how to draw a Venn diagram in ASCII?)

There are three options:
1) Displacement provides total concealment, so IPS will not work.
2) Displacement provides some kind of concealment but not total concealment, so IPS will work.
3) Displacement does not provide any type of concealment at all, so IPS will not work.

Of these options, #1 is the least supported by the wording of the spell ("as if total concealment" and "unlike actual total concealment" clearly says "this is not total concealment").

The argument then becomes whether 2 or 3 is correct, and you can make reasonable arguments for either one. (I happen to support 3, FWIW.)

I suppose you can just say, "Hey, 2 out of 3 readings say it doesn't work," but I'm a bit pedantic about wording and rules reading, so I don't recommend that.

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

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God's Market Gamble (1-5) is a nice one for new players, too. It's another investigation one, but it doesn't have any new mechanics (and the chase scene is the optional encounter).

Here's why I really love it:
Kreighton Shane gives the mission briefing, and I usually have him get lost in thought and just trail off in the middle of a sentence. This forces the players to get his attention (in character) so he can finish the briefing.

If the players are shy, he'll trail off two or three times, until they're all jumping in immediately to snap him out of it. It's a great way to set the RP expectations for the scenario and get everyone involved.


If you're the GM, you can house rule that the player can reload the sling staff as a free action. As written and FAQ'd, the sling staff always takes a move action to reload, no matter what, so the player could never get more than one attack a round.(If you're not the GM, make sure you get that OK'd before you go too far down the sling staff route.)

I agree with most of Dafydd's recommendations, but I would adjust the stats a bit:

Quote:

For scores you could do:

STR 15, DEX 16, CON 11, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 15 (assuming Halfling race):

Dropping Str to 14 gives you 3 points to play with:

STR 14, DEX 16, CON 12, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 16

If you're more ranged focused and want to go the Weapon Finesse route, I'd take:
STR 13, DEX 17, CON 12, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 16 (Or CHA 17)

Fourth level point into DEX/CHA, 8th level point into STR.

A 13 STR will let you take Power Attack, but since you can't two-hand a sling staff as a melee weapon (counts as a light club), you only lose 1 pt of damage with a 13 Str over a 14 Str. Most of your ranged damage will come from Deadly Aim anyway, so you'll want more Dex than Str to make up for the attack penalty.

If you plan on going Close Quarters Thrower so you always use your sling in melee anyway, you can also drop STR to 12 and bump Wis or Int.

General notes:
Get Precise Shot as soon as possible. -4 on nearly every shot is very, very painful.

Improved Precise Shot is a must have, also--ignoring cover is very nice--but it's up at level 12 or so. There's a trait for worshippers of Erastil that lets you ignore some cover with a bow--the GM might let you use that with a sling. There are also some tricks for avoiding cover in Ranged Tactics Toolbox.

The sling feats and special sling bullets in Halflings of Golarion are fun. There are also some fun bullets in Ranged Tactics Toolbox.

Weapon blanches are a ranged character's best friend.

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

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Digression on communication:

Jiggy wrote:
Sometimes I don't know whether it's genuine ignorance of how clauses work in a sentence, or unconsciously believing the sweeping generalizations and not realizing that it shows through in their words.

A large part of the problem is that writers/speakers always know what they mean, so they aren't aware that their words can be read another way.

In cases like these, it can be as simple as "I had a qualifying phrase that restricted the generalization to a smaller group of people in my head and forgot to write it down" or even "There was a restrictive phrase that limited the group in the original text, but I didn't include it in my quote."

This is why I always recommend hit Preview, then re-read your post with the quoted material in context, and ask: does my response actually (and explicitly) talk about the part I quoted? If the answer is "no", then you probably need to quote a different section or tie your response to the quoted section more clearly.

Also, see if there's there a lot of text between two statements you want to respond to that isn't relevant to you response. If so, then you might want to split the quote and your response into two parts, or remove the irrelevant parts with a "<snip>" or "<...>" note to indicate you edited the quoted section.

Then hit Preview again and read it one more time before you hit Submit.

(Especially in contentious discussions.)


Actually, it would probably be easier (and potentially more useful) to go through the existing guides and highlight stuff that is not in Core.

If you ignore all archetypes, sub-domains, sub-schools, expanded ranger combat styles, alternate racial traits, and alternate class bonuses, you'd really only have to look at feats, spells, traits, and magic items.


If the GM knows what he's doing, he has something planned to force the players to work together, to make working together in everyone's best interest (sort of a "I hate you, but I'd rather not die moment"). As a character, you can try to find ways to convince the other characters that working together is in their best interest.

Also, I expect the conflicts will be less "chaotic neutral vs. good" and more "selfish bastards vs. people who want to help". The "mess with everyone, player and NPC alike" attitude is going to be more of an issue than alignment. If you can find ways to work that attitude to your advantage, you should be fine.


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I think tailoring the module to suit the party abilities is the right idea.

If there's no cleric in the party and no access to spell casting services, dropping curses on them without a scroll or something just punishes the party for not wanting to play a normal party makeup. That's how you end up with one player "getting stuck playing the cleric", which starts off not fun for that player.

My primary principle in building a game is that every problem must have at least one solution. I would never throw a party into a encounter where I couldn't come up with at least one option they could use to defeat it--even if that solution is "run away and come back tomorrow with more guys": there has to be a way to run away, and there have to be more guys around somehow.


What about at a whip feather token? You get a free grapple attempt with it, but it functions as a dancing whip, which can be used to disarm and trip. It's a consumable, but it's cheap and lasts an hour.

There's the Cloak of Disarming. It's expensive, but I think it will do what you want.

If you're a fighter, you can use the Manual of War to change out a bonus feat every day.

If you can't find what you want, you can also try to increase your AC against AoOs with things like Pauldrons of the Serpent.


Reach weapons are really the best way to go. You can also just pump your AC really high and risk the AoO anyway.

If you're specifically looking at maneuvers that are hard to perform at reach (like grapple, bull rush, overrun), you can try some of these:

Grappler's Mask lets you do grapple and bull rush without AoOs.

Banner of the Rushing Horde gives all allies within 60 Improved Bull Rush and Improved Overrun.

But remember that with bull rush and overrun, if your target has reach, your movement will still provoke even if the maneuver doesn't (and you'll still provoke from any other enemies).


Kchaka wrote:
Quote:
Without the mistake, there's no AoO

I find this wierd. Think of your character, adjacent to an Orc, threatening it with your weapon, and the Orc is threatening you. You wanna attack the orc, but you don't right away because you know if you do he'll attack you back. Like a UFC fight, the two of you use your footwork, keep throwing fake strikes, dodging, etc. The Orc tries to grab your feet to throw you down and leaves himself wide open, and you use that moment to strike as an AoO, and you kill the Orc.

Now that the Orc is dead, "helpless", it's like he's wide open all the time, you could just stab him as many times as you can in 6 seconds.

You can only stab him once in 6 seconds unless you have a BAB of 6 or higher. Helpless has nothing to do with AoOs.

Kchaka wrote:
I think you could consider yourself wide open, "helpless" agains yourself all the time. It should be no problem to stab yourself.

Feel free to stab yourself all you want--as a standard action.

Kchaka wrote:
Think of it this way, you just used your full-attack, you have a spell storing spiked gauntlet and a spear, you want to "inject" yourself with the gauntlet but you CAN'T. Then a bunch of orcs charge you, you slay them all with your spear's AoO and there's one AoO left, but you still CAN'T use it to "inject" yourself. Doesn't this sounds ridiculous too, or what?

No, it doesn't sound ridiculous at all: it sounds exactly like the rules intend it to.

AoOs are not a "resource" that you have and can use however you want. An AoO is a free "bonus" attack that you get because your opponent screwed up. If your opponent does not screw up, you don't get the bonus attack.

That's the rule. That's how AoOs work. Period.

If you don't like that rule, then take your suggestions to the Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrews forum. In that forum, people will actually be able to help you figure out how to make your own rules work the way you want.

In this forum--the Rules Questions forum--people will just continue to tell you how the rules currently work.


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If you do decide to give the player a chance to change his behavior, try giving him very specific guidelines about what is and is not acceptable.

So instead of saying "you have to cooperate more", give him specific examples of what you mean: stop stealing everyone's stuff, stop running off alone, don't kill the NPC when someone else is trying to talk to them, etc.

Your first goal, of course, is to preserve the integrity of the group and enjoyment of the game. You second goal, if possible, is to help the disruptive player do better next time--if not in your group, then somewhere else.

If the player honestly doesn't understand why his behavior is a problem, then it will just continue. Helping him understand the exact problem can potentially redeem a bad player. (Now, if the player does understand and chooses to do it anyway, then smite away.)


Kchaka wrote:
My objective, from the start, is to have a spell storing weapon that targets me with a attack enhancment spell instead of the attack's target. This line of thought is just to help me debate, in case the DM says "the rules don't allow the spell storing weapon to do that", then I could say "well, if we are going follow RAW by the letter, then I could do this, this and that...".

But it isn't RAW, so this won't work for you. You'll have to convince your GM to let you do something non-RAW no matter what. You'd probably be better off writing up a variant of spell storing that lets you target yourself and asking the GM to let you use it.

Kchaka wrote:

My logic behind striking yourself with an AoO is that it seems unreasonable to think you have this AoO that can only be used if triggered by something other than yourself, but you can't use it to strike yoursef as an "injection" even if that would be in your interrest.

You could even close your eyes and imagine the enemies passing by you and provoking AoOs and you would be able to practice these attacks, striking the air by yourself, but for some readon, even though you had the time to do all those attacks, you still can't use them to "attack" yourself as an injection?

It might help to realize that AoOs are just you taking advantage of someone else's mistake. It's not that you have all of these extra attacks floating around that you can't use: it's that the other guy messed up, and you get a free "bonus" attack that you normally don't get.

You're capitalizing on your opponent's mistake. Without the mistake, there's no AoO. You can't capitalize on your own mistake (and if you do it on purpose, it's not a mistake, is it?), and in theory, you wouldn't capitalize on your ally's mistake.

Instead of asking a rules question, you might ask about the best way to accomplish your goal, like "What's the quickest way to buff at the start of a fight?" or "What's the coolest thing I can do with a spell storing weapon?"

For your specific rules questions, you'll get specific rules answers:
"Can I use an AoO on myself?" No, because you can't provoke from yourself.
"Can I use a spell storing weapon to cast a spell on myself?" I suppose if you want to attack yourself and do damage, I'd let you do it, but it would take up one of your attacks on your turn.
"Can I use a spell storing weapon to cast Lead Blades on myself?" No, because Lead Blades is a personal spell and therefore can't be cast into a spell storing weapon.

If you ask something like, "How can I get Lead Blades cast on myself when I can't cast the spell?", then the answer is a [http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/magicItems/rings.html#ring-of-spell-storing-minor]ring of spell storing[/url] or similar item.

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

deusvult wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Arrows come with a quiver. You can stab someone with all 50 at once, they'll be fine.

Really, why do people keep trying to shill the efficient quiver? It simply doesn't add any real advantage.

It does when you have some GM (perhaps like me) who'd tell you that if you want to pull a specific arrow type out of your many quivers of 50s or 100s of arrows, it'll take more than a free action to draw and load b/c of all the rooting around you'll have to do to get the exact arrow you're looking for.

If you're rooting around for arrows, then you need a better organization system. You just get a bandolier of quivers so each quiver (with each different arrow type) is lined up below the next with a gap between.

My archer uses a double set of bandoliers with four quivers facing each direction, so she always knows what she's pulling at any given time, and all of the fletchings are color-coded (I describe her as looking like the NBC peacock). And she does actually have an efficient quiver, too, but it only holds 60 arrows, so she needs to do something with the other 60-70 she usually carries with her.

And if any GM asks about the direction the arrows are facing, I can pull the long bow out of my closet and demonstrate how to invert it to shoot left-handed as you pass it to your other hand (free action), which means you're drawing ammunition from the other side. (Technically, I'd be demonstrating how to shoot right handed, since I'm starting out left handed.)


Cuttler wrote:

The basic of all this is that Full attack and Spell Combat are two different Full Round Actions.

The Full Attack Action allows you to make additional attacks (iterative, haste, two weapon fighting, etc). Taking this action allows you to make the first attack and then forgo all remainaing attack in order to take a move action. Only Full attack Action allows that. IF you decide to two weapon fight as a Full Attack Action, then all your attacks take a -2 to hit penalty.

Spell Combat: this is a different full Round Action that allows you to cast a spell and make all of his attacks but with a -2 to hit penalty. Whether you decide to cast a spell or not, or make only one attack, you still inccur a -2 penalty on all attacks that you amek this round. Contrary to the Full Attack Action, you do not have the luxury of changing to a move action after your first attack. Only a Full Attack Action can do that.

Again, the key here is to understand that although they might share some similarities, Full Attack Action and Spell Combat are two different types of Full Round Actions

Since an FAQ said that Spell Combat counts as a full attack action for the purposes of haste and such, you might be able to convince your GM to treat it exactly like a full attack action.

You'll want to ask the GM before you try it, though.


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Tarpeius wrote:
It is possible to hold a weapon without wielding it. If I'd like a character to be able to switch to a different weapon while already having drawn it (say, to fall back to swinging a shield after having been disarmed), what type of action is it to switch to wielding that merely-held weapon? My best guess it that it's a free/non-action, but I can't find any RAW on the topic.

It is possible. You can hold a weapon in each hand and attack without penalty as long as you are not trying to take an extra attack with it.

It takes no action to decide to use the weapon in your other hand; you just have to declare before each attack which weapon you want to use. So you can use your sword for your attack on your turn and the ax in your other hand for any attack of opportunity off your turn, as long you just say, "I'm hitting him with my sword."

Side note:
You can hold a two-handed weapon in one hand, but you can't wield it in one hand. There's an FAQ that says it's a free action to add/remove a hand from a two-handed weapon, so you'll see a lot of spell casters wielding long spears, then drop one hand from the spear (switching to just "holding" the weapon) so they can cast spells, and put their hand back on their weapon (back to "wielding") at the end of their turn so they still threaten and can take attacks of opportunity.

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

deusvult wrote:

That's a good point nosig, but it doesn't necessarily mean you get a free question at the initial DC (without beating it by 5).

Identifying the creature also identifies its type, and that comes with a slew of useful information, often immunities, vulnerabilities, alignment, and so on. Identifying the skeleton already tells you, among many other things, that as an undead it is immune to mind affecting effects, damaged by positive energy, and so on.

None of which is actually useful unless you are a spell caster or a channeler. "Useful" is a contextual, subjective measurement.

That's probably the main reason that the question method evolved: what's useful to one PC (or player) is completely pointless to another. Then there's the whole in-character aspect. My fighter would have no way of knowing (and no reason to remember) that a skeleton can't be charmed, but she would definitely remember stories about arrows going right through them until the archer had to pick a rock and smash the thing's skull in.

deusvult wrote:
I'd say such information about type certainly qualifies as "a bit of useful information about that monster". I'd still insist on beating the DC by at least 5 to get to ask about anything beyond the identified monster and type.

I tend to think of the base DC as "what the average person would know about skeletons", and I'd wager that many more people know that you need bludgeoning weapons for skeletons than would know that skeletons are immune to mind effecting spells.

Reasoning:
From a logical perspective, most of the people on Golarion are not casters or channelers--this is based on the fact that there's usually only one of these in any given group of NPCs, and I've yet to run across a melee BBEG with wizard minions.

Given that, how would any of those melee minions ever discover (or care) that undead are immune to mind-effecting spells? But anybody with even an improvised weapon with very quickly figure out that bludgeoning is the answer. And anybody who survived would pass that along in their stories.

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

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Andrew Christian wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Christopher Rowe wrote:
I don't know, man. It seems analogous to an archer having not thought to buy arrows to me.
Most archers don't have to deal with over a hundred different bows, half of which don't require a specific arrow purchase.

Huh... I guess all those archers who want to carry 50 of every arrow type don't exist then.

I mean adamantine, silver, blunt, cold iron, tanglefoot, normal...

I had one archer claim he was carrying 300 arrows and had access to all 300 in combat.

I'm like, uh no.

If he accounted for the encumbrance, why not? There's not a clear mechanic in Pathfinder for how you carry your gear, just that you do carry it.

10 quivers is not any more ridiculous than 2-3 pole arms, an earthbreaker, a great sword, a battle axe, a bow and quiver, and 4-6 daggers. Oh, and a shield.

In home games, I draw the line at 1 pole arm. Can I do that in PFS, too?

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

aboyd wrote:

Hmm. I'm the OP. I was asking if it's a jerk move to check sheets for a purchase that I deliberately and specifically called out at the beginning of the game. We have morphed into a discussion of whether it's a jerk move to check for and/or prevent the use of spell components & spells. For me, these are different questions with different answers.

I have still, even after this thread, found myself thinking that if I ask for purchases and the players refuse, I am justified to say they don't get the benefits of that purchase. They flat out refused it. They don't get to take it later when they say, "Oh, you were serious about that?"

I think that most people agree with you here--I certainly do. You were probably being extra nice pointing out that gear was necessary and reminding them they can purchase it.

I think it's more that your question brought up some interesting side conversations rather than trying to make a direct comparison.

Particularly for the example at hand: cold weather gear is cheap, but it's bulky and heavy. Many characters will be encumbered by the extra weight, so it would actually effect the entire game rather than just the individual saving throw. You warned them, you reminded them, they made a choice.

That's completely different from "oh, crap, that material component scrolled off the screen of my spell cards app and I never saw it! But my character wouldn't have that happen to him--can I just pay for it now and assume I've had it? It doesn't weight anything..."

On the spell components:
I've also seen GMs allow casters to maintain a set gp value of 'miscellaneous spell components' without detailing what's in it. As long as you set the value high enough to account for the spells you cast that day, you don't have to track each individual item.


Most people forget about Uncanny Dodge, which is really important since most barbarians and bloodragers get it at level 2. A character with Uncanny Dodge "cannot be caught flat-footed, even if the attacker is invisible."

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

Christopher Rowe wrote:
Christopher Rowe wrote:
Now I'm off to see how many first level spells actually have components or focuses not included in spell component pouches.

I checked all the zero level and 1st level spells (and there are many) in the Core Rulebook, the Advanced Player's Guide, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, and the Advanced Class Guide and found seven spells in total that aren't covered by either the spell component pouch or a divine focus.

Three of them hardly count: Warding Weapon, Alter Musical Instrument, and Memorize Page use as a focus materials that circumstances dictate the characters have anyway (a weapon, a musical instrument, or a page, respectively).

Fabricate Bullets requires one pound of lead or another soft metal worth 2 gold pieces.

Stumble Gap is the first in the Pit series, more or less, and requires that much-discussed focus of a 10 gold piece miniature shovel.

That leaves Bless Water and Curse Water, the "big" ones in the group. They each take 5 pounds of powdered silver worth 25 gold pieces (the price of just buying holy water as it happens).

All of which is to say that, in my opinion, by the time players are playing characters with access to spells with significant focus or material component resources to be tracked, there's little legitimate reason they should not be tracking those resources.

So if caster needs pounds of components, you can assume they are stored items, right? Does that mean that every spell caster needs to spend a move action getting components out of their backpack/haversack/whatever before they cast a spell?


I run a tetori monk in PFS as a debuffer: I hold things down while my friends kill them. I only get to the "tie up" phase about 50-60% of the time. (In our area, we've had a couple of people play tetoris: they have been really, really effective.)

If you want to do a tie-up grappler, pick up Equipment Trick: Rope. You can skip the pin and go straight to tie up with only a -5 on your maintain check (instead of -10). There are other ways to reduce the penalty, but this one doesn't interrupt your progression in any way.

Some other debuffing grapple options:
I also picked up Enforcer so I can take a free action to intimidate after doing non-lethal damage. In one round (depending on the GM), the target can be grappled, pinned, stunned (Stunning Pin), and shaken.

Dragging people around into better arrangement for the spellcasters is also fun: tetoris retain the monk's evasion and excellent saves, and grappled targets have a -2 Dex, which drops the Reflex save by 1. (I recently dragged one mummy 30 ft to put it adjacent to the other mummy so the sorcerer could use burning hands on both of them--Hey, look! Tetoris also retain the monk's "immune to diseases, including supernatural ones.")

Grabbing Style reduces the penalty for grappling one-handed, which is a great way to grapple multiple people once you get Greater Grapple, so more targets for your friends to hit. This is going to be my monk's next feat, probably.

Even with the advent of the Brawler, tetoris still have some advantages over other grapple build. The obvious ones are Grab at 8th level and Suppress Freedom of Movement at 9th level--no other build I know of gets anything close to those. Even still, you get all the grapple feats early as class features without needing to meet the pre-requisites, and you ignore the penalties for being grappled very early on.

One of my favorite tricks is the 6th level tetori ability: you get Greater Grapple, and creatures that try to grapple you provoke an AoO unless they also have Greater Grapple. (Fun fact: the monster "grab" ability =/= Greater Grapple.)

Side note:
You can't stack monk with barbarian unless you a) use the martial artist monk archetype or b) take all your monk levels first. As soon as your barbarian becomes lawful to take levels in monk, you lose nearly all of your abilities.


Here's the key text:

Quote:
against any shaken, frightened, or panicked opponents

It doesn't say "shaken except those that haven't already been demoralized".

It says "any shaken opponent". It doesn't put any restriction on how or why the opponent became shaken.

Does demoralize cause an opponent to be shaken? Yes. Then this works. This feat is specifically designed to override the general rule about how demoralize works (which is kind of what feats do overall: let you ignore general rules).


Devilkiller wrote:

The Ride skill includes this potentially divisive capability.

PRD wrote:
Cover: You can react instantly to drop down and hang alongside your mount, using it as cover. You can't attack or cast spells while using your mount as cover. If you fail your Ride check, you don't get the cover benefit. Using this option is an immediate action, but recovering from this position is a move action (no check required).
Since the Ride check is made as an immediate action I'm pretty confident that you can choose to make it when an enemy attacks you on their turn. I'd assume that the cover you gain is soft cover since it is being provided by another creature (your mount). This often leads to the question of whether an attack aimed at you which misses because of this soft cover should hit the mount instead or at least be resolved against the mount's AC. It seems to me that the RAW are silent on whether there's a chance for an attack which misses because of soft cover to hit the cover instead (barring some specific circumstances such as the Body Shield feat). Would folks agree that by RAW there's no chance of the mount getting hit by the attack instead of the rider?

There's nothing in the Pathfinder rules that says the creature providing cover gets hit by the attack if it misses. Since at least one feat specifically calls out that the creature providing cover takes the attack, I'd rule that this means it doesn't normally happen (because if it did, there is no reason to include that language in the feat).

Also remember that any ruling along this line applies to the bad guys, too. If the GM rules the your mount gets hit because he's providing cover, then any ranged attack or reach attack that missed because of soft cover must also hit whatever bad guy is providing cover to your target.


I have a Brawler/Holy Tactician Paladin who can be a ton of fun on my side of the screen. Move action: learn a teamwork feat, swift action: pass out the teamwork feat to all your buddies, standard action: take advantage of that teamwork feat. Repeat up to 5 times a day.

The two big tricks to Brawler are
1) Know your feats. Make a short list of your favorites and have them ready to go. Slowing down the game while you check prerequisites and abilities is no fun for anyone.

2) Get as many of the core pre-req feats as you can as early as you can. Mostly, you're looking at Power Attack, Improved Unarmed Strike, and Combat Expertise to get most maneuvers. Dodge, Weapon Focus, and Combat Reflexes are in the second tier, depending on your feat choices. Once you have these, you can pick up a staggering number of feats going forward.

(BTW, this is my main issue with the Exemplar. If you don't pick up Improved Unarmed Strike from somewhere else, that archetype cuts off multiple large branches of the feat tree.)


If you don't have a reason for the 12 Int, you can drop that do a 10 and bump your Dex to 14, for +1 AC. (You have Uncanny Dodge, so you will almost never lose your Dex bonus.)

You shouldn't be having any encumbrance issues and you don't have a high enough Dex to waste an extra 1K for mithral. Swap that for a +1 buckler and you armor class goes up by 2. (Later on, save your money for a mithral breastplate.)

The biggest problem with the reach weapon is that you won't have a hand free to cast, and a couple of the best bard spells are off your turn. You'll have to choose between threatening and casting. (For flexibility, you'll be better with a one-handed weapon that you can use with two hands to get 1 1/2 times your strength bonus; one that does two damage types is even better.)

Other possibilities:
- Put some points into Use Magic Device and get a wand of Shield (+4 Shield bonus)
- Potions of Barkskin until you can get an amulet of natural armor
- Potions of Shield of Faith until you can get a Ring of Protection
- Pick up Dodge for your next feat
- Dip into Fighter/Unarmed Fighter or Monk/Master of Many Styles to pick up Crane Style, then always fight defensively at only -2 to attack

Eventually, you'll want to look for:
- Ring of Protection (deflection bonus)
- Mithral breastplate (up your armor bonus)
- Dusty rose prism Ioun stone (insight bonus)
- Jingasa of the fortunate soldier (luck bonus)
- Amulet of natural armor (natural armor bonus)

Also, don't discount things like mirror image and blur and displacement--those are huge.

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

Malag,

Yeah, usually when you have a creature grabbed, you have the upper hand and you're winning the fight. When you're in that situation, you don't let go of the advantage. I know of several animals that evolved with "unbreakable holds" (gila monsters, for instance, lock their jaws on a grip, and you have know the mechanical "trick" to forcing their jaws open), but I don't know of any that evolved with anything resembling a grab-release-regrab tactic.

As a GM, I won't use that tactic on a non-intelligent animal. On an intelligent monster, I'll consider it, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


I once played with a cleric of Asmodeus who was a barrister. He was great fun.

When the bad guys came and demanded we get out of their hideout, he said, "Can you show me the deed?"


I've played with some Thor builds, and it depends on what you want to focus on.

For the hammer throwing and returning, I looked at the "hand of the apprentice" Universal wizard ability or Magic domain ability. (If you want a strict martial version, there's the Bounding Hammer feat that lets you bounce a hammer off of a target within 20 it and catch it.)

Epic scene:

I have this vision of using Bounding Hammer and Opening Volley: You move up and throw your hammer. Next round you catch the hammer and continue the move, put both hands on the weapon and smack the crap out the target with +4 to hit. It takes three feats and a specific set up, but it would look awesome.

For the lightning abilities, I mainly looked at the Air domain or Thundercaller bard.

You can do one level of Air and Magic domain cleric and then go into barbarian for the flavor and damage (pick up the hurling powers) or fighter to pick up the various feats you need for ranged combat. (Precise Shot is a good idea if you're planning to do more than just throw in someone's general direction. Close Quarters Thrower would be nice so you don't provoke every time you throw the hammer.)

Newer stuff I haven't had a chance to dig into but might work:
The throwing Magus arcana from the Ranged Tactics toolbox that lets you add throwing and returning to your weapon. Add shock to that at later levels and you can have a nice version of Thor.

Far Strike Monk has some interesting potential if you want to focus on the ranged side of it.

The school savant Arcanist power might let you pick up the Hand of the Apprentice and keep the lightning abilities, but that seems less martial than I'd want.

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

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Malag wrote:

@BNW

I think it was this topic that gave me some insight:
topic about grabs.

Basically if I understood right, a monster with multiple grab attacks, such as octopus, can continue making it's tentacle attacks (during the course of 1st round) after it succeeds on grapple check with grab, but with regular grapple condition penalties. It seemed like better alternative to me then, then making grab, constrict, release and grab again logic. Doing it on monsters seemed cheesy to me.

I couldn't come up with logical reason why an animal/monster would develop that tactic. Usually, when you have a creature grabbed, you're planning to keep it grabbed so you can squeeze the life out of it, drag it back to your lair, etc. (Intelligent monsters that can functionally "meta-game" about the mechanics are different issue.)

I'd be more open to the grab-release-grab tactic in monsters if someone could point to a real life example where a constricting animal evolved that tactic.


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Melkiador wrote:
It'd be nice if we could get a FAQ stating that a standard or move action that progresses to a swift action can still be used as a standard or move action.

I think it needs to be phrased as a question:

FAQ proposal wrote:

If an ability changes the action type as the character levels up, can the character use the action type from a previous level to activate that ability?

For example, an Oracle with the Doomsayer revelation originally maintains the ability as a move action, and it changes to a swift action at 15th level. Can a 15th level Oracle choose to maintain the Doomsayer ability as move action?

(I'm often tempted to add an "if not, why not?" clause, but those rarely get addressed, and they can come off as confrontational. Usually, though, I'm just trying to understand the reasoning to make the rule easier to figure out in the future.)


The Mighty Khan wrote:
You know, the only thing affected by a mount that's too big (as best I can tell) is using the Ride Skill for Fast Mount/Dismount. Your Halfling can ride a large wolf just fine.

It's more an issue of getting a large animal through tight dungeons, which is why a lot of mount-based classes use small races and medium mounts.

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

One thing to remember is that coup de grace is a full-round action that provokes. Consider how valuable it would be for the bad guy to have one helpless target dead vs. a full attack against targets that are currently threats.

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

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I think it's important to acknowledge the difference between "suitable for children under 13" and "may trigger a negative response in people who have suffered similar trauma". A lot of GM recognize that they need to tone things down when they have kids at the table: that's so common, it barely needs a reminder.

However, when you look at the players at your table, there's no way to tell whether any of them might suffer from PTSD that could be triggered by content in the scenario. Adults are more likely to have these issue (just from the fact of having lived longer and experienced more), but we tend to over-protective of children and (perhaps) not protective enough of other adults.

I used to teach a visa-preparation class that had a lot of refugee students, and some of their stories were quite horrific. You couldn't tell by looking at my class which students were just immigrants and which ones had spent seven weeks in the hold of a cargo ship praying that they didn't get kidnapped by pirates (like the rest of their family) or had been kicked out of the army for a mental breakdown at the age of 14. The usually bland essays about "my most embarrassing moment" or "how I spent my summer" were very, very different from these students.

And there was no possible way to tell them apart.

When we're talking about "trigger warnings", we're rarely talking about children, but invariably the discussions devolve into "how do we protect the children from adult themes". Trigger warnings are about protecting traumatized adults from reminders of their trauma.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think we need to make sure we're asking the right questions.


Capt. Darling, you are correct: there is no size limit. There is also no penalties for grappling larger characters outside the normal CMB/CMD adjustments for your size.


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You can take the alternate advancement to have the wolf stay medium, or you can switch to a medium riding dog.

And "best cavalier" needs a definition: best at doing what?

Any small race has the size advantage, so you need to understand what you want your cavalier to do. A gnome, wayang, or grippli might be just as good as a halfling, depending on your purpose.


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For Maguses and Arcanists at least, you need your swift action to activate pool abilities.

Even though you can't normally spend a move action to do a swift action, I think that any ability that was a move action at a previous level should still be able to use a move action, as if you are simply using the ability at the lower level.

That's how I would rule it, anyway.


I think your reading of the item is good. That's how I would rule it.

As far as the martial flexibility, that's a very powerful ability, and a lot of my martial characters take a brawler dip just to get it. My Holy Tactician Paladin actually uses it to learn combat/teamwork feats that she then shares with the rest of the party. She also has pretty much all of the "core" combat feats (Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, Dodge, Power Attack, Improved Unarmed Strike, etc.), so she can grab just about any combat maneuver, a lot of the style feats, and most of the tier 1-2 combat feats (e.g., those that don't require a BAB of 6). There are many, many feats that are very situational, like,
- Does he have a weapon? I'll learn Improved Disarm
- Small/tiny creature with a ridiculously high AC? Improved Grapple will take care of that
- Need to get to the other side of the field? Time for Mobility
- I need to be defensive? Crane Style it is.
- (one of my favorites) Oh look, I'm prone. Move action to learn Monkey Style.

My grapple build (tetori monk) just picked up that ability because I couldn't decide among Crane Style, Power Attack, and Equipment Trick (Rope).

I haven't read the mutagen mauler too closely, but it seems like you might be better off with a dip into Alchemist.


If you have a high AC or can get people between you and the bad guy, you can use the Antagonize feat to force them to come after you instead of your buddies.

There are several fun feats you can use to make intimidate to demoralize work well. My favorite is Enforcer that lets you do non-lethal damage to a person and then take a free action to demoralize: if the target fails his save, he's shaken for as many rounds as you did damage to him. (If you can do at least 5 or 6 damage, this often lasts for most of the combat.)

Having all the knowledge skills is really, really useful in PFS. Having a pack filled with "useful stuff" to deal with creatures is also useful.

And heck, we just got back from a game where my arcanist ran out of spells and couldn't hit with her Ray of Frost through cover, can't provide flanking (because the guy was down a hallway--oh, and couldn't be flanked), so she just ran up behind the front liners and said "I have two hands--can I hold something/fetch something for you?" (Turns out yes--someone needed to change weapons, so she took his old one away and saved him having to drop it.)

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

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Jiggy wrote:
Robert Hetherington wrote:

As a player I frequently ask broader, less mechanical questions. Helps encourage the GM to give more flavorful answers.

Like: "How is it most likely going to try and kill us?"

"What would this creature be most famous for?"

"What would Marcus Farabellus have told us to watch out for when fighting this creature?"
"What should we not bother doing when fighting this creature?"

My new favorite:

"Can I pet it?"

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

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Gauss wrote:

Gwen Smith, you seem to have missed my point, repeatedly.

I never said the issue was with Hero Lab. I have always maintained that the issue is with people who use it as a crutch and who make statements such as "But Hero Lab said....".

Let me be absolutely clear.
1) Hero Lab is fine as a tool.

2) People are more than welcome to use Hero Lab as a tool in my games. I have players that do so.

3) Contrary to certain people's beliefs (not all people) Hero Lab is not a rules source.

4) Hero Lab is not infallible.

5) Hero Lab is not a substitute for knowing the rules. Unfortunately some people treat it as one.

Gwen, please read my posts in context as you have clearly taken them out of context and treated what I wrote as an attack on Hero Lab when it is clearly not the case.
My problem is with people who use Hero Lab as a substitute for the rules and then do not understand that they are violating the rules.
I also have a problem with people who think that Hero Lab is infallible when it can produce errors (usually user error but sometimes not).

Clearly, I am not the only one that has seen this sort of behavior from certain Hero Lab users.

I wasn't assuming your post was an attack on Hero Lab so much as I was trying to point out that all of the issues in your post (and a lot of other posts--yours was just nice and concise!) are general issues with the player base and not issues with Hero Lab per se. We need to address the underlying issues rather than fuss about where we see the symptoms appear.

You say you've seen this behavior from Hero Labs users. I'm saying I see this behavior from all kinds of players, regardless of what tool they are using.

The only honest-to-Desna problem intrinsic to Hero Lab itself is "It contains all the rule text in it, so players think they don't need the books." Some other specific Hero Lab problems are "Players don't know how to use Hero Lab and it slows the game down while they look for stuff" and "Players don't always know the specific development choices and/or bugs in Hero Lab", but no one is really complaining about those.

All the rest of the issues seem like some form of "Players don't know/don't follow the rules."


Who is your deity and what is their favored weapon?

You have a high enough wisdom that you do a monk dip and pick up Crusader's Flurry: if your deity has a reach weapon, this could be really, really nice (maybe Maneuver Master archetype).

Some long term advice:
Don't waste your time comparing each individual thing you can do with some other character. It isn't fair to you to compare your casting with another caster and your damage output to a melee build. You have to compare your overall character to each other overall character: Sure, you don't do as much damage as the fighter, but you are much better caster than he is, right?

Specialized builds will always do better at what they specialize it, by definition. Think about what you want the character to do, then build for that and ignore everyone else. If you want to be the best at something, you might be better off picking pick a role your party doesn't already have.

Lastly, if you can't be OMG THE BEST!! at something, can you be OK with being "the guy who can do anything"?

Lugh Lamfada, Irish deity:

From here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lugh
Lugh Lamfada joins the Tuatha Dé Danann[edit]
As a young man Lugh travels to Tara to join the court of king Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The doorkeeper will not let him in unless he has a skill with which to serve the king. He offers his services as a wright, a smith, a champion, a swordsman, a harpist, a hero, a poet and historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman, but each time is rejected as the Tuatha Dé Danann already have someone with that skill. But when Lugh asks if they have anyone with all those skills simultaneously, the doorkeeper has to admit defeat, and Lugh joins the court"

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

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Gauss wrote:

This has nothing to do with 'elitism'. It has to do with people not knowing how their characters work because they failed to build their character. It was built for them. Then they don't understand why the character that was built for them violates the rules in some way.

It is the same as if you asked someone to build you a character and they just handed the sheet to you.
Do you know all the rules? Nope, you didn't build it.
Do you know if it is built correctly? Nope, you didn't build it.

People do this all the time. Most new players have their characters built for them by somebody else, and lots of players get advice blindly from other players or from the messageboards.

If you encounter a player who didn't build their character, do you send them away from the table or help them understand their character?

Gauss wrote:
If you know all about your character and you use Hero Lab to shave some time then that is great. But that is not how I am seeing people use it. I am seeing people use Hero Lab as a substitute for the rules and then when there is a rules discrepancy claim that Hero Lab must be right.

Or "the messageboards said so, so it must be right". Or D20PFSRD. I agree that this is an issue: I just don't think that the issue is with Hero Lab.

Quote:
It is great you can use Hero Lab as the tool it was designed to be used as. Unfortunately not everyone is doing that.

Is the correct response to eliminate the tool overall? Or to teach people how to use it?

I've audited characters who didn't actually spend 20 points on abilities, missed out on racial stat boosts, or didn't have any traits. I've dealt with players who hadn't leveled their characters after 8 or 9 chronicles, players who never totaled up their money from chronicles and still only had their starting gear, and players who didn't keep their chronicles at all. I've even had a new player try to play a 10th-level character that "his brother had given him"--with all the chronicles.

Errors on characters I've audited in Hero Lab haven't been anywhere near as bad as the ones I've audited in pencil and paper.

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

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Whether or not Hero Lab is "frowned upon" depends on your area. In our region, all the VOs depend on Hero Lab, so there is no chance it will ever get frowned upon. However, Hero Lab is not a substitute for your chronicles and inventory sheets, for knowing the rules, or for having the resources.

Hero Lab is a very useful tool. Like any tool, you have to know how to use it correctly to avoid mishaps. When using Hero Lab for PFS:

1) Make sure you have the correct hero configuration. Select the "Pathfinder Society Character" option, and turn off any resources that you don't have a valid copy of that you could bring to the table.

2) If your character has any validation errors showing, check all of them. If it's actually an error, resolve it. If it's a Hero Lab error, make sure you understand why it's wrong and what the correct value should be.

3) Make sure you understand how and why Hero Lab is calculating all your numbers. Be sure you can explain them to anyone who asks. Go through each of your In Play options and make sure all the adjustments are correct. (The worst thing you can do is say, "I don't know how I got that number--it's just what Hero Lab says." That's the kind of thing that gets Hero Lab "frowned upon".)

4) Pick up Shadow Chemosh's custom adjustment packages from d20PFSRD. Any time you find a discrepancy between your numbers and Hero Lab's numbers, you can use the adjustments to correct them.

5) REPORT BUGS. If you see something wrong in Hero Lab, send in a bug report. Lone Wolf is pretty responsive, and I haven't seen any bugs last more than 1 or 2 updates.

6) Be aware of the implementation choices that affect your character. For example, Hero Lab doesn't automatically adjust for Furious Focus, since it's very situational and only applies to the "first attack" for a round. You have to know that and adjust for Furious Focus manually (or use Chemosh's adjustment package).

7) Keep an "offline" version of your character, maybe even a printed version. Computers crash, so you always want a backup.

If a GM claims that Hero Lab is "not legal", explain that it is at least as legal as any random character tracking spreadsheet available on the Internet (which oddly never get questioned) and that it is less error prone than doing the math in your head. If you have your chronicles and resources, and you can explain how every number was calculated, you shouldn't have any issues.

(Full disclosure: I am not in any way affiliated with Lone Wolf or Hero Lab or Shadow Chemosh. I just appreciate good work when I see it, and I make a living explaining how to use software correctly.)


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If you're thinking of Pathfinder Society, remember to focus your build on being effecting from level 1-12 (well, technically level 2). Any builds that don't start "working" until level 8 or higher is not very useful. Also remember that some items might not be available, and any rules that are under contention will be susceptible to table variation.

Also, when you are thinking of "tank", what are the most important aspects of that? Unhittable? Protecting other people?

My only "tank" is a halfling cavalier with Cautious Fighter/Blundering Defense, Bodyguard, and the Helpful trait. When fighting defensively (with Crane Style and 3 ranks in Acrobatics), she has +6 AC, and all adjacent allies get a +3 luck bonus to AC.

With benevolent armor, she can use Bodyguard Aid Another for +7 AC; her mount also ,

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

That is correct, but the organizers are also aware that people have different financial challenges. If there's any issue like that, talk to the venture officers and see what your options are. For example, if a player is on a fixed income or long-term disability, the VOs might tell them to stick to the "core assumptions" books, and the GMs won't give them any difficulty for not having the book.

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

BretI wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
There was one in Trial by Machine but I didn't play SC during that one, I didn't really understand what was happening with that.
Our group was disappointed since we did it and none of us had Silver Crusade characters in it. The boon would be nice for any character able to complete the task.

My table also completed that mission even though there was not a Silver Crusade member present. (I'm guessing the cleric of Sarenrae had enough synergies to make it the natural thing to do.)


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ryric wrote:

So I guess playing something like a fighter with a wisdom penalty is right out for you then?

How is it any different than playing a bad Fort caster and getting hit by a one shot SoS/SoD effect? Or a bad Ref character that gets hit with a pit spell? In any of those situations the party is faced with the choice to use actions and resources to undo the effect or to just let it be until after the battle.

I think the main difference is that a dominated or confused character has a high chance of hurting other party members. Character in a pit is in a pit by themselves. A dominated character is a danger to others.

My husband and I played a teamwork pair of Fighter/Rogue/Barbarian two-weapon fighters. Even with a 14 wisdom and save-boosting magic, my character had a pitiful 7 will save at 12th level (and mine was the higher of the two). Once, when we knew we were facing vampires, we both balked and told the party, "Um...you probably don't want us going in these without some kind of protection from evil--you do not want the twin blade cuisinarts getting dominated."

ryric wrote:
Now I do play in groups that lets the player retain some control when their character is charmed or dominated - you still have to do what the spell tells you, but you get to still describe your actions and roll your own dice, that sort of thing.

That's how I've seen it done, too, and I really like it that way.

The character I mentioned above once got dominated and told to "stop her partner from getting close to the bad guy". So she dropped her weapons and--um--"grappled" him.


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Reebo Kesh wrote:

Are there any players out there who do not plan out their characters level progression?

I've grown tired of players who have every skill and feat planned to 20th level. It leaves no scope for the character to grow and develop because of the encounters and experiences they face.

If you're the GM, the first thing you should do is tell your players your expectations before the campaign starts. If you seek out players who build "responsively" or encourage players to do that, you will probably get better results.

But most importantly, the players have to know/trust that there will be experiences that will lead to growth and character development. As a GM, you have to work with the players and find out what they hope their characters will develop into so you can plan encounters that way.

And as other people suggested, allowing players to retrain will help them stay more flexible.

Reebo Kesh wrote:
A common example is the "I must wield one type of weapon and commit all my feats to it!" then a nice piece of gear is found and they PCs just sell it.

That's really not a good example.

First, of all the character choices, what weapon they wield is often the most structured. Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization are just the tip of the iceberg. The list of feats and abilities that require Weapon Focus as a prerequisite or apply to a specific chosen weapon is staggering: Close Quarters Thrower, Point Blank Master, Improved Critical, Crusader's Flurry, Dazzling Display...
If you want to increase weapon flexibility, you'll have to waive the requirements for a long list of feats and class abilities.

Second, even without any kind of weapon focus/weapon specialization/whatever, there is a completely separate feat tree for ranged fighters and melee fighters. In one campaign, two martial characters were a medium two-handed (any weapon) build and a small ranged (any weapon) build. Oh, sure, they could switch hit, but they would lose 3/4ths of their abilities when they did. Both the characters did change up weapons as cool ones landed, but they really had to stay in the ranged-vs-melee categories to be useful at all.

Third, most classes can use only a small selection of weapons, and the size of the weapon matters. If your only medium characters are a wizard and a monk, you can't complain if the PCs keep selling all the medium martial weapons you give them.

Fourth, the choice of what weapon to wield is often more character personality than mechanics (or "what's the best gear"). Several people mentioned in-character choices that drive them to adopt or avoid different weapons. Some other reasons are
- A Cleric/Inquisitor/Paladin/Warpriest wielding their deity's favored weapon will probably choose it over any "nice piece of gear"
- A Kensai Magus loses a number of class abilities if he strays from his favored weapon: should the character lower their AC by 4 just so they can use this shiny new weapon that does more damage?
- A bladebound Magus will never trade his weapon, because his weapon is alive.

Fifth, does it really matter? What difference does it make if the PCs sell "a nice piece of gear"? The GM knows the character's weapon choices/proficiencies/feats/etc. Why not just give the PCs a weapon that one of them can use instead of complaining that they keep selling what you give them?

Reebo Kesh wrote:
I'd love a game system where you don't know what you get at the next level, of course this would only work once per player per class.

Have you tried Hero System. You have no preset levels and classes: you just build out your character however you want by spending "hero points" to buy new abilities. Instead of "leveling", you earn more hero points as you play, which you can spend in any way the GM allows. It's a completely free-form system, which lets you grow characters very organically. You can either do small increases to exiting powers (grow and evolve) or ask the GM to stage some kind of life-altering event so you can change your character more dramatically (I've had characters die and come back to life with a completely different set of powers--whatever works for you and the GM).

It sounds like that might be more suited to your preferred play style.

Reebo Kesh wrote:
Maybe a more gestalt approach would work. You build a base character who can fight and as she progresses in levels she seeks out things she'd like to do - become a mage, a rogue, join a church etc.

A lot of players include these kinds of things in their level 1-20 plans. For example, my Zen Archer got kicked out of the monastery for "anger management" issues after 6 levels and switched to Barbarian for level 7-8. Then she calmed down a bit and started to focus only on the bow, which was the only part of her monastic training that she actually liked, and switched to Fighter (Weapon Master) at level 9, which was my plan from level 1. If they do plan out these kinds of changes from level 1, is that somehow worse then doing them organically as they level up?

I'm wondering if the "planning" aspect is what's really bothering you. Could it be that they keep too strictly to a plan in the face of contraindicating events? Or that they don't seem to have any in-character reasons for their plan?

It seems like you're having problems with several players who happen to plan their characters, but that the actual problem isn't caused by the fact that they plan. I'd go back through the issues in my mind and make sure that "planning" is really the underlying problem. Because no matter how much time you spend solving a problem, if it's the wrong problem, nothing will improve.

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

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nosig wrote:

i've been playing so long I can often quote monster stats in my sleep (not as good as my son though. He used to be able to give the page number in the MM for whatever you encountered - often just from the description). So often I know the monster stats good enough to know WHAT to ask.

So I have started doing this:

Judge: "Knowledge Religion?"
Me: "26"
Judge: "Ghoul - Three extra items...."
Me - in character - "Everyone! Undead - Paralyze you with a hit! Except for you Merisiel - guess it pays to be an Elf sometimes huh? And Kera 47 - Channels work, but it has a little bit of resistance to them..." grabbing holy water as a move action, I throw it..."...and Holy water works just fine!" roll a '6' plus 4 is only a 10 and so I bet I missed... "amend that. Holy Water works if you hit it!"

That way - I get to show off some... in character. The judge can check my facts and correct me (if he feels we need it), and best of all... IT"S FUN!

I like the in-character description of the critter and the way you make the information applicable (e.g., "It can paralyze you with a hit" instead of "It has the paralysis special ability"). I'm going to try to start using that approach more.

There are, unfortunately, two other possible scenarios that I run into more often:
Scenario 1 (this one is only mildly annoying to me, but a lot of GMs hate metagaming)
Judge: "Knowledge Religion?"
Veteran player: "13"
Judge: "Ghoul - That's all you know...."
Veteran player- in character - "Everyone! Undead - Paralyze you with a hit! Except for you Merisiel - guess it pays to be an Elf sometimes huh? And Kera 47 - Channels work, but it has a little bit of resistance to them...Holy water works just fine!"

Scenario 2 (this is the one that bothers me most)
Judge: "Knowledge Religion?"
New player: "26?"
Judge: "Ghoul - You can know three items/ask three questions"
New player: "What's a Ghoul?"
Judge: "It's an undead creature. That was question number 1--next question?"
New player: "What's an undead creature?"
Judge: "OK, that's question number 2..."

In my early gaming days, I played with antagonistic GMs who tried to get any advantage they could over the players. So it didn't matter if your character got a 26 knowledge check and would know everything about the creature: if the player didn't have the monster manual memorized and couldn't recognize the creature from the description, it just sucked to be them. They should study harder. If they're brand new, well they need to go away until they have all their books memorized.

That attitude is not conducive to attracting new players to the game, so I don't think it has any place in PFS.

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