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Hello folks! I'm back playing PFS after a bit of a break. My halfling Cavalier just hit 5th, and I am considering options for his development. I'm not trying to min-max, but to be useful at higher levels. (I tried to marry reasonable combat effectiveness and a story-driven approach in developing my last character, a thrown-weapon fighter with a smidge of wizard, and he was noticeably not quite pulling his weight in the party by the time he got to 9th level.)
The 1/2-Cav here is a wolf-riding lancer who pretty much stays in the saddle all the time. Current feats: WF (lance), Mounted Combat, Precise Strike (B), SF: Handle Animal (B). S15 D16 C13 I10 W10 Ch14.
Here are some of the scenarios I've thought of for feats at levels 5 and 6. Obviously they go in somewhat different directions. Any comments would be welcome. If there's something big I've missed, please let me know. Thanks!
Ride-By Attack -- Spirited Charge
I play PFS sporadically, and my highest-level character, "the Fisherman," is a trident-throwing Ftr7/Wiz1. He is about to gain his next level of Fighter, which means I get to make two feat choices and have a chance to retrain. I am not at all a min-maxer, but I want the PC to contribute reasonably in combat for his last big Pathfinder play push. The Wizard level was largely for flavor -- his Osirian momma wanted her son to become respectable -- but also lets him self-buff (Expeditious Attack!) and provides flexibility with wands at table (Glitterdust, etc.).
I am interested in ideas for feats, and for crucial items. Please don't tell me what I should have done six levels ago. (For instance, I wish I had known of the Foresight subschool when I chose my Wizard level. Prescience looks like a wonderful school power for a fighter.)
The scheme I am currently considering most strongly is:
--Clustered Shots (for overcoming all the DR/Alignment that I'm starting to see in play)
Here is the Fisherman's current setup:
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Dodge (can't retrain), Weapon Focus (Trident), Weapon Specialization (Trident), Point Blank Master (Trident), Arcane Strike (let all those tridents count as Magic for DR at mid-tier), Spell Focus (Conjuration), I think I'm forgetting one
Ranged attack bonus: +17 (+7 BAB, +6 Dex, +1 Masterwork (I've got a ton of Mst tridents), +1 Weapon Training, +1 Weapon focus, +1 PBS)
Ergo, with Rapid Shot: +15/+15/+10 (nice and round, no?)
Ranged damage: 1d8+8 magic (+3 Str, +1 WT, +1 PBS, +1 Arcane Strike, +2 Weapon Specialization)
Soon I'll also buy a wand of Bull's Strength (hurrah for being a Wizard!) to up my damage in key combats.
Thanks for any advice you can offer!
I certainly grant the point that the best character for a new player to play is one they want to play. However, sometimes they really don't know, and it is nice to have a few options available that let them pay attention to the story and character-world interaction without getting lost in mechanics and 4-point font details on character sheets.
Also, in Society play I have several times witnessed new players who really wanted to try a caster (because casters are cool, no?) just get deluged by unwanted "help" from other players about positioning, spell selection, blast radii, etc. Of course this is more a game table-culture issue than a new-player issue, but I think it may be easier to steer new players without a strong opinion towards certain classes that allow them to a little time to adjust to Pathfinder than to cure gamers of excessive helpfulness.
I'm just wondering what Level 1 characters other folks have in their back pocket to toss at new players, accommodating significant others, and the like? This is not an optimization thread, and I must admit that for flavor and balance reasons I really dislike archetypes, gunslingers and alchemists.
--Ease of play.
--A significant role in the party that is not overwhelming and won't attract too much pushy kibitzing from other players.
My top three:
1. Human (PA/FF/Weap Focus) or Half-Orc (PA/Furious Focus) Two-Handed Fighter. Versatility not great, but easy to play and very effective in combat. We all have a handle on playing a human, and many new players enjoy the easy roleplaying hooks of your basic brute Klingon Half-Orc.
2. Human (PBS/PS) Archer Ranger. Archer math is easy at level 1 (are you within 6 squares or not?), not much positional flanking nonsense, and generally effective in combat. Cover/concealment is the biggest trial. As a DM, I might handwave some of that for the first session. Some nice and useful skills. Holds out the promise of a cool animal companion at higher levels -- something tangible to work towards, and a surprisingly effective lure for a wide array of folks on the borderlands of gamer-geekdom.
3. Dwarf unarmed puncher monk. Best bonus feat choices: Either Deflect Arrows (cool to describe in-game -- DM needs to send some arrows the player's way) or Dodge (really easy to use). Fun race/class combo, brilliant saves, some enjoyable but not obtrusive skills. Only one major choice in combat: Did I move more than one square? I punch once with these stats. Did I move just one square? Flurry of blows with this other line of stats! Generally easy to roleplay a vanilla monk -- channel your inner Bruce Lee or "Mystery Men" Sphinx.
Beyond these three, if you have someone who really likes the acting/talking component, you might go with a blaster sorcerer or ranged bard (the latter is trickier). Although halflings are fun, having the PBS/PS is nice for new players who run out of spells and need to pull out a ranged weapon, so human usually gets the nod.
I'm with the "metal armor is cool for An Comps" camp. Druids should try to protect their trusty furry friends with the best options available. Also, at middle and higher levels, An Comps can really use decent magical armor. Many take a significant AC hit when they advance (larger size, lower Dex) and they are already dealing with a fading BAB problem in comparison to the frontline fighters and CR-equivalent foes. They need to be able to hang around in a fight for awhile to land some hits.
An important aspect of the ranged vs. melee discussion is that the two have very different risk/reward profiles. In many combat encounters, melee combatants take a lot more risks (triggering traps, suffering HP abrasion, being the target of save effects) than do ranged combatants. In return, melee fighters are rewarded . . . by being able to take full attacks less often, by not having as many high-bonus iterative attacks a la RS/Manyshot, and therefore by often doing less damage overall than their ranged counterparts. Yay melee.
Clustered is mainly adding insult to injury. Archers already have many ways to overcome DR with a single high-bonus magic weapon through the golf-bag o' arrows and the (annoying and metagamey, in my view) weapon blanches. Even if a fighter blanches up a bunch of longswords and stows 'em in his haversack, they ain't going to hit like Ol' Betsy, are they?
I support what appears to be the emerging consensus . . . Paizo should continue to do what it is doing best, which is maintain a popular, well-developed and richly-supported fantasy tabletop RPG. My personal favorite aspect of what Paizo does the firm's continuing support for Society play. The mods are generally well-written and provide good moments for character interaction as well as sword-swingin' and spell-slingin'. In my local game store's monthly Pathfinder Saturdays we seem to always get a few new people looking to play based on strong word of mouth and peer-to-peer recruitment. It helps that the local PF community is heavy on roleplaying and is good at encouraging and developing neophyte players.
It is amusing to think of BSA roleplaying . . . people sitting in tents near a campfire roleplaying people sitting in tents near a campfire. The difference is that the in-game nighttime encounter is more likely to be kobolds than loud inebriates from a neighboring RV park.
It sounds like you had a great first session. As your players make their first characters beyond the Box, you might consider limiting their options to the Core Rulebook . . . too much choice can be paralyzing, and there is plenty in that rust-red tome to play around with. Of course, play as you wish. All the best as you continue with the hobby!
Magical Knack: "Pick a class when you gain this trait—your caster level in that class gains a +2 trait bonus as long as this bonus doesn’t increase your caster level higher than your current Hit Dice."
Magical Knack is not linked to a particular spell, but to a class. As long as the specified class is "Wizard," I think the OP can use this with any lvl 1 Wiz spell, or I suppose with higher-level ones from scrolls cast through UMD as long as the final CL is less than current HD and the total CL does not exceed Wiz level+2. Magical Knack is perhaps overly powerful.
"A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and can move only 5 feet per round (as a full-round action)."
Does this mean that a dwarven character with Str 10 (max load 100 lbs)can move 20 ft/round up to 199 pounds, but at 200 lbs is reduced to 5 ft/round as a full-round action? In other words, is double max load a hard outside limit for "Slow and Steady" or can dwarves carry giant statues around and still move 20 ft/round?
I love the idea of having PCs create physical descriptions of some NPCs. I'm totally stealing that. In a recent Supers game with a jinxing Big Bad, I had the PCs come up with descriptions of what happened to their characters when the bad-luck power activated. It was hilarious, and they were much harder on themselves than I would have been.
Perception is actually helpful for DMs, because most of the stuff being perceived (little clues, secret doors, invisible foes) are actually things the DM wants the PCs to find to keep the story going or to keep combat moving. As a PC, I've found Perception most useful in allowing me to act in surprise rounds and in locating invisible stuff before the Glitterdust spell gets popped out.
Remember (a) that there are lots of modifiers to Perception checks (i.e., closed doors impose a -5 to listen), (b) that seeing a foe doesn't mean you know everything about it (that takes Knowledge checks), (c) that if you don't say you are looking for a trap or a secret door you aren't (with some exceptions) and (d) that perceiving a foe doesn't end the encounter at all . . . if the foe is nasty enough. Heh.
As far as play goes, most groups have a conversational style (talking without taking formal turns, making sure everyone is listened to) through basic description, movement and social encounters. When the duke shouts, "Seize them!" or the enamel box starts starts ticking and smoking, the DM says, "Roll initiative," and everyone goes in initiative order, high to low, from that point on until the end of the encounter. DMs usually have all their NPCs go at the same time to avoid confusion. In rounds, play is much easier with a battlemat to figure out where everyone and everything is.
The most basic combat issues to understand:
Most-misunderstood Level 1 spell: probably Charm Person. The easiest adjudication in combat is to have the subject essentially drop out of the combat as he or she tries to convince the two sides towards which she feels friendly to cease their senseless conflict (my thoughts -- other players/DMs certainly have other ways to handle this). Any overt threat ends the spell.
Above all, enjoy yourself! The story is key, and you've got that down, so you're already there.
You asked for item purchase advice. A Metamagic Rod of Extend (only 3000gp for Lesser, i.e. 3rd-level spells or below) allows you to double durations for three spells a day. Some fights don't last all that many rounds, but it is nice to have the option to keep your critters on the table longer.
If you are a feat-poor cleric in Pathfinder Society play, the Rune domain and its subdomains give you Spell Focus for free. You can take SF (Conjuration), and this speeds you on your way to Augment Summoning.
Thanks, Ansel! I was actually kinda hoping for a ruling against the alternatives . . . a hell hound seems a lot more powerful than a Lemure or a wolf for SM II, for instance. I suppose the alternative list provides a boon for folks who have subscribed to all the Adventure Paths.
Did I get the HP calculation right for the lizard?
All the best!
It sounds like you know how you want to play and what you want to do, so go for it. The basic rule of Pathfinder: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The goal is fun, not total optimization. If you are having fun (and the other players and the GM are too), you're doing it right. Let fly the halfling arrows!
Just to verify that I have this right:
For Pathfinder Society play, a caster with Augment Summoning who summons a Monitor Lizard with SM III gets a critter with 3d8+15 HP, ergo 3(4.5)+15, or 28.5, rounding down to 28 HP, correct?
Also, in Society play can monsters under the "alternatives" list on http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/s/summon-monster
be summoned? Some of these seem rather more powerful than those from the core rulebook.
Backing up Dr. Buzzard on Quickdraw: "Actually I don't think it works that way. Quickdraw is just draw. It's not quick holster (or stow in general). I had looked into this for the purpose of a thrower, and it doesn't work that way by general consensus."
The loading of both guns still seems problematic to me. You can load one, but you only get one swift action a round, right? Also, it takes a swift action to recover a weapon with a weapon cord.
All the best in your first games! As to the question at hand, I believe that Magi (Maguses?) are all pretty much two-weapon fighters -- it just happens that their second weapon is a spell. Ditching the gauntlet might be the easiest course.
The Magus is a tricky starting character because it asks you to master two of the densest parts of the game at once -- positional frontline fighting tactics (charging, AoOs, combat maneuvers if that's your bag) and the magic system, as well as the interaction between them. For your first play experience, if you really like the two-weapon flavor, you might consider doing a straight-up two-weapon fighter so you can learn the feat trees and tactics that go into that. Once you have that down (or that character kicks the bucket, or the black dragon), you can switch to a magus to figure out the spell system, which is the craziest minigame in Pathfinder. Of course, though, the key is to have fun. Run with whatever sounds awesome to you.
It looks like a fun build. The key, of course, is roleplaying/story and not optimization, but since you've asked I'll toss in a few thoughts:
--Why a shortbow and not a longbow? Having one of the party's major combat characters deal a d4 will make combats last quite a bit longer than they would have with your old melee-oriented cleric.
--Shared Precision doesn't help your party's only other ranged option much, since the Bard probably already has Precise Shot. Aura of Care helps you and the bard shoot at threats to each other, but won't help you much on the fight's frontline unless you are really, really close to the action.
--Distant Mercy is a clever class ability, but it makes your healing twice as expensive as a melee paladin's. Between you and the bard the party has some healing ability, but against the kind of foes you'll see as you crest 10th and 11th the party is going to miss the cleric's burst heal. This is especially true since you are depending upon an EK's hitpoints and your d4 bow to get you past the bone-crunching obstacles in your way.
All of that said, halfling archers are great fun, and a paladin is welcome in any small party. Enjoy the game!
As Maxximilius noted, a weapon cord might be helpful (can drop sword as free action, cast as standard, recover weapon as swift). However, the SRD text says that "Unlike a locked gauntlet, you can still use a hand with a weapon cord, though a dangling weapon may interfere with finer actions." It is unclear if "finer actions" include spellcasting. Anyone know a firm ruling?
As I've seen it in a few years of Pathfinder society play, in-combat spellcasting by paladins is rare, and casting by clerics, whatever they are wielding, is usually allowed. For clerics, the Birthmark trait allows a divine focus that doesn't need a hand. A friend who plays many melee-and-shield divine casters says that the weapon cord solves most problems on the slice-and-spell front for Society judges.
Hi. What if the wizard has proficiency, but he weapon does not have any range increment listed (i.e., is not a traditional thrown weapon)? Does the -4 penalty from p. 141 CRB, last full para in column 1 under Thrown apply to, say, an elf wizard lobbing his longsword at someone? From the same para, would a half-orc Wiz HotAing his greataxe need a full-round action?
Well, it does make sense that a large wolf, at least, would only have a five-foot reach. It is using its muzzle, not a great big paw. Of course, real-world analogies are not a substitute for clear rulings, but I'll assume that a large wolf has the same reach as a medium wolf unless I hear otherwise. Best.
I have read through a number of older threads on mounted combat, but I want to throw out a number of niggling questions in one place and see what wisdom I can gather from the community. Thanks in advance for any help!
For the record, my character is a PFS Halfling Cavalier 3 riding a wolf.
--If I take an immediate to use my mount for cover, does a miss on me constitute a hit on the wolf? On my next turn, when I use a move action to return to the saddle, does the wolf still have a move and a standard?
--I'm a lancer, so the wolf and I have different reaches. Typically, the wolf moves me into lance range (move) and readies a melee+trip to anyone coming into her reach (standard). I attack (standard). If the wolf's ready goes off, may I assume that as a unit the wolf and I relocate to the new initiative position at which the ready went off?
--Can a wolf wear Slippers of Spider Climb or Horseshoes of Speed? Any modifiers for cost for either item to make 'em wolf-ready? (I may have the names of the items wrong.) I expect I would have to push the wolf using Handle Animal to walk on a ceiling, even if the item is legal. Thoughts?
--This is not a rules question, but a play question. Generally, are folks who play small Cavs taking the wolf size increase at 7th level? Having a medium wolf allows rapid mount/dismount (good for flanking) and works well on a lot of maps, But there's a big strength bump if you go large.
Thanks again. This ridin' stuff is new to me, as you can tell.
@Abraham: Good advice re acid arrow wand. I'm still poor and lowish level, will consider it.
@Dragonchess: I do prepare True Strike on a daily basis (crucial in PFS, a play environment in which every barmaid knows Glitterdust). I also love my wand of Expeditious Retreat -- great for a short-distance thrower who often needs to tank and do battlefield control.
@Norm Roth: I multiclassed a trident-throwing fighter into wizard for one level, mainly for roleplaying purposes, and bought a Wand of Magic Missiles for those opponents I just couldn't stick holes into effectively. It turned out the exact opponents I could not shish-kebab also had enough SR to render my investment in an arcane popgun useless. Oh, well.
Verik and Rickmeister have it. Basically, this provides backup low-level out-of-combat healing, or a chance to pop back up the downed cleric without pouring a potion in his or her mouth.
Note that in Pathfinder Society play CLW wands are seen pretty often even at first level, because one can spend 2 Prestige Award (which often can be gained in the very first adventure) to pick up a 750-gp item from one's faction.
I appreciate all the thoughts on this post and other similar ones. I'm about to play my first PFS cleric. Please tell me if I have this right, assuming I am holding a one-handed weapon and using a buckler on the other arm:
--Channel Energy: Present DF with the buckler hand, lose buckler AC bonus until the beginning of my next turn.
--Cast spell with somatic component: cast with buckler hand, lose buckler AC bonus until the beginning of my next turn.
Casting a standard-action spell with a DF component has drawing the DF as part of the standard action. Should I assume the same with Channel Energy, or, assuming I cast a non-DF spell in the previous round (or used one of the various Domain ranged touch attacks), would I need a move action to draw the holy symbol to Channel Energy?
On another note I've seen relatively few weapon-and-shield melee clerics in the Selective Channeling era, at least in PFS play. If they don't take the Birthmark trait, perhaps Wis/Str clerics should just go the two-handed weapon route to avoid a lot of this trouble? Heavy shields do provide nice, cheap AC, though.
I am pretty sure that thrown weapons count as ranged weapons, as they have a range increment, but would love a community confirmation for this. My PFS thrown-weapon fighter is about to gain a new level . . .
I am impressed at the in-depth and patient build advice for a new player on this thread. It is great to be part of such a supportive community. I do want to echo my support for what Carpy DM said early on. For long-term fun, concept trumps numbers. This is especially true in Society play. Players can't hog the limelight with backstory since time is so limited, but it makes a big difference to what can be fairly mechanical adventures if characters are differentiated a little bit by personality as well as by party role. (This is not to knock the mod writers -- there are some stellar adventures that come out for a very constrained time environment.) A nice way to start is to give your fighter one goal, one combat catchphrase, and one quirk. Here's an example off the top of my head:
Goal: Win the love of his distant mother, who prefers his charismatic sorceress of an older sister.
The result is slightly creepy, but funny. It gives the DM and other PCs a lot to work with conversationally at the table without slowing down play, and plays off your fighter's low Charisma. I firmly believe that the best PS tables have players gifted in haiku roleplaying -- short, memorable snapshots of a character that let folks get done in four hours with some stories to tell beyond the Big Bad of the day. All the best, and have a great time playing!
In Pathfinder Society play, my thrown-weapon fighter is about to take one class of wizard. The group I play with has no arcanist at a comparable level, and Arcane Strike is a nice feat for those who chuck stuff. Although fighter/wizard can be a suboptimal (if fun) combination, use of the wands with a range of Personal (such as True Strike in a world full of Glitterdust, and especially Expeditious Retreat) makes up for this a little bit. Comprehend Languages is helpful in Society, since one is always being asked, "So, who knows Ancient Osirian?" Wand use is nifty for armored multiclass characters since wands incur no spell failure chance. The point here is to focus on up-front buffing and rely on fighter abilities in combat. A four- or five-round combat doesn't leave a whole lot of standard actions to waste on first-level wizard spells. Since Pathfinder Society characters retire at 12th level, a fighter with one level in another class will still hit the third BAB tier before he or she leaves adventuring and hangs handaxe and 34-charge Wand of Comprehend Languages on the wall of his or her new tavern.
This is not about fey, but continues the conversation about wands since y'all seem to know stuff. :) Do spells cast from wands have Arcane Spell Failure Chance due to armor? I note that you can use wands grappled, and they don't provoke AOOs. My thrown-weapon fighter is contemplating taking a level of Wizard for Arcane Strike so he doesn't need to buy umpteen magical tridents to throw. Wand use might not sway the decision, but would help make up for missing BAB and slower fighter feat and talent progression. Thoughts? Thanks for any help, and sorry for any duplication of previous threads.
Unless one is trying to maximize the number of crits (with the Critical Focus tree on top of the PBS, TWF, and probably Weapon Focus trees?), there are a number of choices from the basic PFRG manual that would seem stronger than the dagger:
Light Hammer: Better range
My main Pathfinder Society character flings tridents. This would not work well for a TWF fighter, but provides damage and works with a shield for a character who has to front-line a fair amount in Society play. (The range is kinda lousy, but fighters are mobile enough in PF that this has not been a problem.)
How has your dagger-thrower worked out? Have you enjoyed the character?
Although it is not explicitly stated in the feats, I believe the TWF feat chain applies to melee, not ranged attacks (a thrown weapon attack is a ranged attack). This can be inferred from the wording of Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, which says, "In addition to the standard single extra attack you get with an off-hand weapon, you get a second attack with it, albeit at a -5 penalty." The feat assumes you are attacking "with it," i.e. with the same off-hand weapon, not with another off-hand weapon drawn through Quick Draw.
If I'm on the wrong track, any clarification would be welcome. I enjoy playing thrown-weapon fighters as well.
It is nice to know that so many people have played and enjoyed D20 Modern. I love it as well. It works wonderfully as a "palate-cleanser" between fantasy and supers games. As such, I play without FX. The base classes and the talent trees are great. These mechanics should be maintained in any Paizotic version of D20 Modern. The wealth system is weirdly reminiscent of that in DC Heroes, and could go. A cash economy would be fine. I don't think too many people looking for a two-fisted modern roleplaying experience would be tempted to take out mortgages and play the derivatives market.
Thanks to all the thoughtful previous posters.
I'm against allowing replays. I sat at an LFR table recently and it turned out that all three of the other players had already played the module once. They were good players. They didn't throw out any overt spoilers. Neither, however, did they seem to be having a lot of fun. As far as I could tell, the players were essentially doing homework -- advancing characters beyond their primary PC through the only means available to them. Not allowing replays might paradoxically encourage players to have more fun (even if in another activity) since it rules this possibility out.
Part of the joy of roleplaying games is being at least a little bit surprised about how things turn out, wondering where the twists and turns are going to be in an adventure, and adapting to changing circumstances on the fly as a team. There are a number of out-of-game reasons that allowing replays might be a good idea, but in the end replays undermine the sense of discovery that is fundamental to roleplaying.