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Jamie Charlan's page

388 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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The limitation is that you've got all your class abilities built up towards doing this, And it's nothing but damage. Oh and a Barbarian or Archer will easily top this using multiple attacks that had less dice to them but an even higher static bonus to the damage. It actually TAKES insane-seeming dice multipliers like this to even make vital strike remotely viable without putting some mythic levels into it. Viable, that is; not actually even close to multiattacking, but meaning you're no longer total dead weight in battle.

You aren't replacing big bad guy over there with a completely devoted thrall. You aren't finding out everything the party will need to know about the evil noble's castle. You aren't calling down the gods themselves to aid you in your endeavors.

Aegis is one of the best martials you can be or have, so it does have a good amount of versatility to go with its damage. But all that just adds up to a solid, competent choice... not a campaign violator. Just looks really bad because so many other "equivalent options" are so ill-designed they can't even do their own role.

Soooo.... What are people's impressions of the Metaforge, Pyrokineticist, and the Cerebremancer?

Metaforge is 3 levels or forget it. Not all that needed now that there's Fighter's Blade to help compensate for your nonsoulblade levels, but dual summon could be handy and you might want just another 3 or 4 custom points without damaging your enhancement bonus (after all, if it can't keep up with a bought weapon...)

Pyrokineticist is kinda neat but overall quite 'meh'. How many things aren't highly resistant or immune to fire that you'll deal with?

Cerebremancer requires splitting into two casters. We know how much 'better' that is compared to actually maxing out your caster levels, though this does diminish the sting a bit. However, if you can get an equivalence (either magical or psionic; whichever you don't have) on the cheap combined with the +CL or +manifester multiclassing trait, it suddenly becomes quite awesome, as you get 10 caster levels then for cheap.

Basically all three are "optimize or there's really little point"

Axial wrote:
1) Can the Nomad psion teleport an infinite number of times per day using Nomad's Step?

14401 times per day, assuming you skip out on resting/breaks and expend your 14th level ability on an additional set of actions. Technically not infinite, but if that much is not enough, you've far worse to worry about in the first place!

2) If I'm rolling up a psionic character, what would I normally spend my WBL on?

Level permitting there's a certain Torc, we'll call it "of power preservation" that will greatly help you in your quests. Other good stuff includes crystal hilts, deepcrystal weapon materials, and especially powerstones if you're playing an Aegis (as well as magic armor in that case too, but shhhhh that's secret). Otherwise whatever works, it ain't so different from anybody else. Everyone loves rings of regeneration and all that s$!!, and dorjes are really just psi wands. Avoid the crowns though: they're basically staves, except using up that head slot you should have big casting stat bonus on.

3) Does Combat Casting give me the same bonus to manifesting psionic powers, or is it casters-only?

Pretty sure it's caster only, but also pretty sure there was a combat manifestation one somewhere. Not that it matters because as usual any hit you can't make the concentration check against has probably just killed you anyways.

I think I'll just go with pure Aegis. By the time I would like that dip (16+), I'm not taking combat feats anymore.

Aegis is the splashiest sonofa~ that you can roll, pretty much. With Student of the Astral Suit I recommend switching out around level 6 to get the other stuff you want - you can return to aegis afterwards. Whether that's a weaponmaster for 3 feats and gloves of dueling, or an archeologist to instead pick up a luck bonus, or six levels of adaptive warrior or whatever, well that's up to you. But the most important growth aspects will continue those four levels.

Oh also since you'll easily have the points for it anyways (remember to use real armor!) you should probably get yourself extra arms II and hook a shield up to one of your new hardpoints. You'll have no penalties to shield use from that mode and get the free-hand bonus for item use or just climbing and grappling.

Ashiel wrote:
]I kind of fail to see how that even matters given that you're probably doing it in your downtime anyway. I mean, I seriously doubt you're going to stop to loot the tattered tapestries in the middle of combat. >_>

In combat no. But a standard action just comes out to picking up the item a little more slowly.

Ten minutes per item will quickly have the party saying "screw this", or the caster going "Screw that", because it's actually a significant time investment if the item in question is an entire laundromat's pile of once-expensive-but-now-goblin-suited socks (true story).

Aratrok wrote:
You know what else repairs items? A cantrip called mending. Plus, broken items aren't worthless, they just sell for 75% of their value.

The difference is that mending takes 10 minutes, and astral repair takes a standard action for 2HP.

Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
The aegis also gets actual class features for item crafting and UMD, which is what a lot of people try to make the fighter do to balance him out.

Something that can violate the miserly party donations of the average dungeon or ruin (in a viciously tentacular fashion) is their very first level ability; Astral Repair. Oh look that broken glass/painting/cup/jewel/statue/sculpture/PIECEOFGEAR isn't worthless and broken anymore. It's brand new. Be aware this may only work once or twice before things are suddenly all dust or barren rooms everywhere everytime however.

The only downside is that you really have to start relying on Harness stone abilities at high levels to keep your to-hit on par with a fighter or smiting paladin. If you don't do that your offense gets closer to the monk. Which is not a bad thing. Probably cuts down on rocket tag

You can also make violently vicious use of firearms to make up for the to-hit lack.

Firearms that are bigger than they should.
Firearms that are bigger than they should be and are augmented by your suit to yet another size for damage.
Firearms that are bigger than they should be and are augmented by your suit to yet another size for change that you built out of deep-crystal.

More importantly, Vancian casting is rare even in at least the older D&D books. Don't know if those pathfinder novels have wizards and sorcerers working off vancian though.

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JoeJ wrote:

Ever since 1e I haven't had much interest in psionics; not because there's anything wrong with the rules, but because it never made any sense to me to have a new magic system that's completely different than the magic used by both wizards and clerics. If divine and arcane spells used very different mechanics it would make more sense to add another type of magic, or if psionics was a replacement for either arcane or divine magic.

Think of it as the OTHER "divine magic".

Imposing, with only your own power, your will upon the world around you, by said will rather than specific known formulae.

In other words, it's pretty much exactly the way the gods themselves do magic.

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Basically energy wall is a good power, so it looks great when compared to its equivalent: A spell that's actually badly designed and crappy in power.

Making Wall of Energy no better than wall of fire would be equivalent to going "sure the monk is terribly designed and really crappy, but this ability is stronger than what a monk can do so we have to break its functionality down until it isn't anymore".

Yeah, it's a lot better than fire-wall; many powers are, but that's just a matter of them having been more carefully balanced and designed, not "because they're overpowered"

jhpace1 wrote:
Psionics are faster to "come into their own" than magic or mundane fighting.

Rather it's a matter of "faster to actually do what it says on the tin". That Nomad promised teleporting, so it actually starts getting to do a lot of it. The wizard doesn't promise "everything is teleports", but gets it a little later and nearly as powerful anyways.

Obviously, "mundane fighting" aka "martials" (aka "can't have nice things") is going to be behind: The fighter's behind the magus, ranger, hyde-alchemist, synthesist and paladin as well.

Wizards and Sorcerers may have Teleport, Lighting Bolt, Fireball, etc, but they are limited to a few slots a day, not using the same power over and over again until you run out of points. The Fighter is still dreaming about his or her +5 longsword while the Psion does 9D6 damage with an Energy Ray.

A sorcerer can use it over and over till he runs out as well, and a psion won't actually be able to do as much in a day unless he's refusing to scale up those energy powers to a higher level - something the sorcerer and wizard need not do as said damage goes up on its own. And the Fighter? He's looking longingly at what the BARD can do and wishing he'd rolled up something more than "cleric's meat summon". Even then though 9d6 is a 5th level spell (it's what you're paying) and once a turn may not actually outblast what an archer's putting out. It's handy though.

Now granted Psions (wilders in particular) are amazing blasters: many roles left in the dust by non-psi classes were shored up quite a bit. Blasting has always been the weakest of the full casting choices, but psi makes it palatable. Psi-warrior, Aegis, Soulknife and friends are all better frontline warriors than classes that can't even do their own job properly, and filled with fun options.

Although a soulknife in an antimagic field is no wizard: Those rolls let you make a MUNDANE weapon, so your situation should rather be "when you're disarmed in prison AND inside an antimagic/psi field(both work with transparancy remember), they have a chance of being useful a few rounds at a time".

Issac Daneil wrote:
Our Armored Blade Soulknife was a monster truck of simple, High Ac, brutal damage pain.
Uh, well, they do compare favorably to a fighter, though that says more about the fighter than the soulknife.
Our Psion used Energy Missiles and Animating often, while cackling at the puppet-play.
Animating is much fun, though more of a "creative uses" ability than anything you could call *powerful*. Energy missiles are handy and scale well enough, psions being good blasters, but that's still just blasting; nothing a DM needs to worry much about overall.
I, our Vitalist

Vitalists are great. Versatile, and most importantly -which makes them look extremely powerful despite being no druid or cleric- are an actual, honest combat healer, something the others don't do well (and shouldn't since they should be killing enemies and having prebuffed everyone, rather than wasting turns healing for less than enemies will do).

My gripe though, was I felt like our non-psionic characters were jokes beside us...

This could be caused by several things: All the psi classes are basically high tier 4 through low 2nd, so rogues, monks and the like look pathetic in comparison. Of course they look pathetic in comparison to everyone. A properly used sorcerer or oracle would slightly edge out the psion, though, and that's not counting what happens when they grab paragon surge atop that.

Chances are you had optimization disparities (and some of us optimizers do love us some psi classes as they're healthily balanced to begin with; less crap to shore up even if the potential's a bit lower), or flat out some of the bad classes that would've felt in bad shape alongside even alchemists.

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See all my experiences with AD&D player reactions to psionics were of the "cover and cover" variety: No one had actually read the book past the cover, but they knew, they KNEW, without a doubt in their minds that this was the most overpowered, broken stuff in the history of gaming, because if you no longer need to memorize your spells, well you're just plain a god.

Nearly all "information" involved was "third" (more like sixth or twelfth) party at best, and one DM was convinced they were a gestalt class and that I'd be multiclassed wizard with it without splitting the XP because humans don't multiclass, or some other dumb s*** like that.

Nowadays folks I play with love themselves some vitalist-on-illness action.

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Have you SEEN some of the people controlling the summoners that are controlling the poor things?

Well granted you also probably shouldn't use things smart or wise enough to realize they've just been designated "meat shield; trapspringer extrodinaire" too often. Tends to cause rebellions.

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Regarding Focus Usage: One of the main things that uses it up is metapsi abilities. If you want to empower a spell, you just use a higher spell slot. If you want to empower a psionic power, you not only pay the increased PPs equivalent to going up a slot, but you ALSO expend your psionic focus to manifest it with empower.

This means you cannot readily use multiple meta'd abilities over and over round after round. Gotta recover focus, and need Deep Focus or Psicrystal Containment just to double-tap on metas.

Overall, anything coming out of the psionics system puts arcane and divine magic to bloody shame when it comes to balancing. Be aware though that you'll occasionally get some very thorough explanations as to just how broken psionics are: These generally use erroneous information (usually bull**** on "oh I didn't know" claims regarding PP/Manifester Level expenditure limits; it's almost always conveniently ignored for arguments) or are anecdotal "friend of a friend of an acquaintance of a coworker of a student of a buddy" bits about some guy having read the book and discovered just how broken it truly was.

Now go roll up an Aegis with Machineguns and revel in being totally and utterly average-yet-versatile despite what that all sounds like!

Imbicatus wrote:
Crossbowman can be surprisingly effective if you take all the vital strike feats and use deadshot. If you PRC or into something with Sneak attack it becomes even better.

That's kind of a mean thing to suggest. Crossbowman isn't good at all.

Actually Advanced guns will let you hit things from a few hundred feet away without much worry. However they don't hit as hard/often as you can with "early" firearms, as they can't get their reload down to a free action.

They're also hideously expensive, but if you know you'll be sticking to those, can allow you to save on certain otherwise necessary feats. What you take instead won't quite make up the difference DPRwise of course, but Advanced is great for that if guns are your weapon rather than your entire class and way of life.

Mechanically Nope. But at least it's one of those weapon options that, with enough optimization, can carry its weight along with the party.

So if you really really want to, you can use guns this way.
And some of us really really want to. Especially when it's to use on things we're told are made for swording into, spearing into, or bowing into.

Even more especially when it's done in fully automatic fashion from several hundred feet in the air.

Although then you'd better have optimized the crap out of it because Burst lowers damage potential quite significantly. Good way to satisify your number-crunching spirit without posing a danger to party balance though.

If "You cannot die", then the death effect should not succeed in the first place. One does not simply drop dead, roll their save, get right back up with no change in actions/turns/HP/stance/concentration. You could not die so you did not die.

Aelryinth wrote:

YES, I rule that if used against cover, that much matter strips the weapon of killing power on the other side...regardless if it is bludgeon or slicing, thank you.

This satisfies the cover rules, which provide 100% protection against physical attacks.
This satisfies the Brilliant rules, which do NOT ignore cover, but can pass through inanimate matter.

This does not necessarily satisfy either.

First let us start with your second statement. A weapon that loses all power passing through inanimate matter is not "ignoring" this inanimate matter. It is being entirely stopped by it, whether or not you get a glowing picture of a weapon shining on the other side for others to target or track you through.

This leaves us with the cover rules themselves which are the source of this mess. Let us take a form of cover that really shows this up: A thin wall of perfectly transparent glassteel.

Behind it "you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier" and flat out cannot attack the target. Now we get to the problem.

>Brilliant Energy weapon ignores that wall, no problem. There is NO reason whatsoever, without adding words, twisting meanings or adding interpretations that border on reality revision, that the weapon would not ignore this wall for a distance/area equal to the blade/head affected by Brilliant Energy. That is, if anyone was allowed to attack.

Soft Cover, of course brilliant energy is going to take issue: if nothing else, even a skeleton is getting in the way, forcing you to dodge or weave out of the way, or preventing your arms or legs from getting the stance or position required. The weapon can't just "ignore cover" for that reason.

But losing all killing power as it slices through that glassteel wall simply negates "ignores nonliving matter". Which does not fit the effect text at all. It is not ignoring it, it is losing all power against it. Which would open up additional questions such as why it loses all power against a thin glassteel wall, but not against your breastplate. By cancelling part of the text, you leave the rest of it just as open to attack. It is no longer 'sacrosanct' to claim that armor does not protect from the weapon's damage. You are passing through inanimate material, and by all means should thus be "hitting" but dealing no damage whatsoever.

Finally: You would not be allowed attack actions against the target in the first place if the target has total cover (defined as line of effect being impossible to trace between your two squares without striking a solid barrier). An ability allowing you to ignore cover would be perverted-by total power loss, but, were your definition correct, still perfectly RAW, if using a brilliant energy weapon, which would make it even less capable in comparison to a regular weapon.

Awakened Blade is compatible with Soulknife and Psywar, is this specific and thus excluding things like Aegis?

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Atarlost wrote:
Crossbows and firearms are point and shoot with all the difficulty in loading (training in which is represented by rapid reload and has no bearing on the nonproficiency penalty to accuracy). Bows have more curved trajectories and release technique has a bearing on how straight the arrow flies, but are fairly intuitive. Slings have very curved trajectories and aiming relies on exact timing. There's nothing simple about them.

One extremely important factor regarding crossbows that in d20 games gets them excessively punished for is their ease of use.

Problem is, that simplicity of use was an advantage. An improvement over previous bow technology. It's an upgrade, like "this has a hook" or "composite bows get to for some reason add strength to damage and don't fall utterly apart in temperate weather" or "basket hilts protect the hand".

All elves are both male and female until their sexual characteristics are first noted by an outside observer, collapsing the faeform into one or the other entities.

knightnday wrote:

I believe that fallacy got brought up on another thread. It is one that bothers me, as it basically is a way to shut down other people's opinions of what the GM could do to fix, change, or adjust things to remove a perceived problem. Keep in mind on this it isn't broken -- the APs function quite well if you don't have your particular flavor of playmate or eye candy in them. For a large number of groups, that is a secondary, tertiary, or lower priority/goal/thing that they are interested in.

You're misunderstanding the fallacy a little.

The idea is not that a GM should never change things, but rather, the fallacy addresses blind defenders of rulesets. Basically:

-Rule has balancing issues and/or does not work
-Someone suggests a houserule/fix/modification
-There was never a problem in the first place because you can modify the rules

The third part is the problem there. And a common one at that, including upon these very forums. Numerous classes/abilities/rules are pretty cruddy, or somewhat overpowered. Some folks claim that because you can just fix it, the RAW was never broken in the first place.

This is the logical equivalent of getting hit while stopped at a red light, needing a new transmission, and (the other person's) insurance refuses to cover it since if you just change the transmission it will was never has been damaged in the first place and thus they owe you nothing!

Aelryinth wrote:

So, what you're saying is you can smack an undead with the pommel of your weapon and deal damage?

WAT. No. I stated an undead would be capable of picking up and using the weapon. The haft or handle functions just fine. Arguably though a club wouldn't work there as it is just one large piece, and boomerangs or chakrams may also be questionable, as would shuriken.

I in no way stated you would be ignoring the bonuses trying to stab someone through a door. Your skeleton could pick the thing up and try. The weapon would pass harlmessly through it, until you got to the non-business-end, though. The business end goes through, they're still hidden by a bloody door that prevents you getting good hits in.

You have inferred much - incorrectly - from my statement. But I'll go to some of it now.

Yes, you could pommel-strike, potentially, an undead with a brilliant energy weapon if the haft/handle are not modified at that end. If you take the ENTIRE effect description, only the blade/macehead or the like are getting the effect, for good or ill.

You'd have to go through its armor, shield and DR, since you're just hitting people with an 'improvised' piece of wood or metal. This is in no way "useful", but rather pointing out that in last ditch efforts to not die if that waste of a +4 is your only weapon and zombies be swarming you, you can at least try to beat them to death with the back end of the thing. Or your bloody gauntlets.

On the other hand, if you're not doubling both attacks, you'll be reducing your output from about 3/4 a full attack down to 1/3 at the best.

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"A brilliant energy weapon has its significant portion transformed into light"
That means the blade or macehead or other "business end" of a weapon. An undead/construct could still grab it by the handle. It would smack its guard into the door, going no further (but certainly impaling anyone propped up against it) and then dropping harmlessly, blade still on the other side.

When you drop it to the floor, it, again at no harm to the surface, sinks in like you'd dropped it in water, until it gets to the non-energy part. It would probably then tip over or stay as-is depending on the weight distribution or weapon type.

The Dayman Cometh

It'll make a lot of slivers fly off when you hit something hard with it though for sure. Make sure you're carrying three or four, and befriend an Aegis for repairs!

You got cheated and cinematic'd. It's time to end the campaign world. Party may be willing to help out.

Make sure he doesn't see it coming. His surprise, backpedalling and "buwuh, no uh" retconning are what will bring you satisfying pleasure and vindication.

Imbicatus wrote:
Abundant Ammunition will mean you never have to reload, but it's spell only.

This can only be cast on containers.

Now depending on your definition this can get interesting. Clearly a stripper clip is out, and you can't cast it directly on the weapon itself...

Works on quivers and bolt-cases, but where it gets really sweet: the machineguns come with detatchable magazines. Again, you'd be 'lowering' yourself to using said weapon's stats, but infinite ammo easy. I'd mix adamantine and silver rounds in there, personally.

As for reload speed, the spells, class abilities and magic items available do not improve it but rather bypass by providing free reloads by the barrel, in most cases once per round. That's one bullet, not six, in a revolver, although it could help add up to four shotgun blasts (or two doubles) per turn instead of one.

1) Psion or Tactician except they don't "memorize/fire-off spells" (is there even reason enough to write a new class if all you want is to refluff a completely standard wizard with possibly maybe a handful of new spells but mostly existing things, just so they'll be called psychics???)

2) Wilder. Again, 'point pool' is the only thing different here, though as a result tis true that a sorcerer knows far more spells than even the psions up there.

3) This one's too easy! Actually I'll throw in a second one: The Aegis can do their stuff almost all off a 'passive' ability! Well, soulknife too I guess, but even in PF it isn't spectacular.

4) Vitalist is wis based, but they specialize in healing (in fact are the only viable "combat healer" class) divination and abjuration, without particularly also having "uncanny dodge, all good saves, etc". This is a tall order; a full caster with uncanny dodge, good init and all good saves? Like what, the perfect, ultimate WIS class, with all the best parts of monk but full caster? Marksman is also WIS based and a little closer to that second part of the bonuses, but they're an offensive partial caster.

5) Cryptic, Dread or Aegis to a lesser extent.

6) Vitalist totally covers this. But it doesn't have 'bloodline powers' as that's sorcerers.

"Don't knock it till ya tried it" comes to mind here. Lots of folks consider currently existing psionics to be better balanced than anything in the CRB. You don't keep hearing about it for no reason; good amount of fun classes with a simple, very much d20 system (unless counting HP was too difficult in which case vancian-users should probably remember they have hitdice and hitpoints, not just spells per day, you don't die when you run out).

The cheapest/easiest thing for Paizo to do would probably be to just allow the existing stuff into PFS. That would be, what, half a paragraph on the FAQ/newsletter worth of work total?

Barring that, what exactly would "psychic magic" be? If it's just renaming regular spells, that's kind of already done, the psi ones just fail to auto-scale. Transparency so antimagic/antipsionic stuff affects the other? Already in place. Vancian, again, already done (just specialize in enchantment) as, you know, wizards or sorcerers or any other caster. Is it spell points per day? You've just done power points again. Do you expend points to maintain powers, unlike spells that have a set duration? Well that's just going right back to 2nd edition (considered overpowered by any who didn't bother reading through that kludge of a system; usually having stopped a the cover).

So what IS 'psychic magic' exactly gonna be?

blackbloodtroll wrote:
I am not trying to spoil anything, but modern firearms will fit just fine in Reign of Winter.

Fit in just fine indeed....

Trencher's a fine fighter archetype as well.

Ambrus wrote:
I'm not terribly familiar with Pathfinder firearms or the gunslinger class. For those who are; what effect would this modern technology have on the the gunslinger's overall class balance at low and higher levels?

Short Term, he's more powerful than other gunslingers by virtue of faster reloading and better touch-targeting range. Early on a rifle's a better choice than a pistol, though it is worth pointing out that advanced firearms have a cost not entirely unlike low grade magical weapons. This is worth noting both for 'when it should be available' but also for 'what you're paying for the weapon's abilities'. That advanced firearm is a significant chunk of your WBL at very low levels. You'll have a mundane shotgun, the fighter'll have his +2 weapon, and everyone could be happy.

Long Term, rifles are weaker than double revolvers, and all advanced firearms become significantly weaker than old firearms. Their range is still technically an advantage but only technically: Rare is the encounter that's so far you really get to use that (case in point; melee martials would feel pretty useless if you're starting at 500 feet regularly) anyways.

Reason is that Rapid Reload and Alchemical Cartridges are incompatible with advanced firearms. This means you will ALWAYS require a move action to reload your gun, rather than being able to get it down to a free action. The advanced firearms have no real support from archetypes either.

Your best bet for balance? Let the Gunslinger have, if he can heft it, a Madsen from Rasputin must die. This significantly lowers damage potential ('burst' weapon rules lock out a number of very important damage improvements usually used by ranged attackers) in exchange for letting it become the most badass line attack in the game (well okay, the ONLY badass line attack in the game). He'll have a niche, a use, which is more than many martials can say, and yet he won't come close to a barbarian or real archer for single or small group killing.

Basically, DPRwise: double double-pistoleer is as good as it gets (able to match a longbow) and Full-Attack-Burst-Weapon is at the bottom right around the poor primitive with the culverin 'cept useful.

What it basically comes down to with saving throws is this:
"Oh !&(* a fireball is about to blow! Do you:
>Stand there like a man/idiot/fire-elemental. No save for you, but maybe you didn't need one

>GET THE $%^& OUT! You said this is an empty brick ro... uh I look for rubble? A table? I mean empty just meant of people right? Not even a tab~ YES! I HIDE BEHIND TIM! Uh, is a twelve enough?

>Fireball? I have improved evasion, what do I care that I'm in an empty 10x10 room, I temporarily teleport out of existence exactly where I'm standing, let it ineffectively do its nothingness, reappear, without ever having disappeared or even moved an inch. If I wanted to get pink misted by multiple reflected shockwaves or a massive pressure increase from these conditions we'd be running against Renraku, not this mage tower.

>Oh screw you dave, you know 5d6 averages more than my entire max HP, we're still bloody level 1. There. I'm dead. DEAD. You can take your damn campaign and shove it up yo~"

Well I guess with the right chronomantic spells you might be able to decide after the fact, but you don't usually get your saving throw if you didn't try to do something about the damage incoming.

Perhaps an interesting thing to research as enchantments.

Looks to me like shifting the grip on your longbow lets you do some slashing or bludgeoning arrow action.

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Dragons would flee from the same thing any other sentient would and should:

Any party of level 12+ adventurers with casters in it.

Arachnofiend wrote:
What counts as a neon sign? A pair of married female innkeepers holding hands as they welcome you in is about as obvious as it is benign.

Don't you wish.

That, to half the players I game with, is just as obviously a sign from the gods that "two at a time" is here. Expect some of the worst romancing attempts this side of Mr.Bean within the hour.

On the other hand, if we need the paladin or rogue to ply some noble for information, he'll go from "uh, what gender did I mark down again" to flamingly finding fundamental focal fabulousness for fame and fortune by the time we're done convincing him.

Or, you know, surreptitiously setting up a gay wedding to spring on him before he knows what's even going on. Almost slipped up come dowry time though.

We should probably feel bad about what we do to each-other sometimes.

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Your non-fried potato habits disgust and offend me, and you should pray to Odin to save your soul for your blasphemous lifestyle choice.

Like a bandolier that leaves them vulnerable to failed item saves if you fail yours perhaps?

Either way let's just hope this doesn't end in another 'corrective' debacle involving making any not-arrow ammo a move action again or something!

Vitalists grant quite a bit of support, but also are as good as it gets for combat-healing, starting with being able to transfer overflow at range. Other options range from life-draining enemies (to spread the love amongst your friends) to sending whatever the bard caught in the last city straight into those charging orcs.

If one does wish to play a healer proper, they're rather amazing, and no slouch at other duties.

Gwen Smith wrote:
By historical sources, the front line of England's longbow-men (probably Welsh yeomen, actually, but that's irrelevant) are usually depicted as kneeling so the second rank can fire above them at the same time. It's the same form used by the Redcoats in depictions of the Revolutionary War.

As you stated, and as your own testing seems to indicate; this is doable for long range/volley style fire. with a 40~50 degree angle, you won't be getting an arrow anywhere within fifty or so feet if your bow's made to deal titanic strength damage at ten times that distance. Fine for 50 bowmen firing at a distant mass of people, but thoroughly useless if you're a single man firing at a target dead ahead 60 feet away, unless you're trying to hit a storm-giant in point-blank range up in the eye!

Jiggy wrote:
I think there are some folks who need to learn how to separate content from behavior. Just because someone tells you you're wrong doesn't mean they're being a jackass. And just because you think you're right doesn't mean you're not being a jackass.

Quite true, although often people can get heated by "the obvious". Many players, for example, are very quick to spot what to them are glaring mechanical faults.

They may not be the best at expressing it, but they're still going to get frustrated when they're pointing at what to them is a giant burning zeppelin and the only answer they get is "everything looks fine here, you must be mistaking some strange extreme case for normal operation of that class/ability". If they weren't feeling like acting like a jackass before, well they've just been tempted to, as they likely see it, return the favor!

There's also a lot of people that can tell something's WRONG, but either can't quite put their finger on it, or, given how 'obvious' a problem is, don't feel like typing for half an hour and showing all their math: after all the people that work on this stuff should have their own numbers to re-check, right?

Many of the threads that degenerate into personal flamewars usually after some of the above get told they're wrong; not because their math is wrong but because 'wrong' is how the ability/class/whatever is... apparently intended? Toss in people who either just want to be seen praising designers, or people who have a vested (but really petty) interest in seeing certain things kept utterly crappy or other things standing high above other options, and you've got a perfect recipe for a whole lot of unsatisfied people.

Again, I'm not saying that it's the right and proper thing to do, just pointing out how things tend to degenerate, even when they've nice and useful data there. Ideally, when something gets shown to be of questionable worth or power, it should be thoroughly reviewed.

You need not hit with every iterative to outpace a disruption shot if you're built for attacking. Few worry about getting their 6th+ attacks to hit, and anyways a real attacker is probably looking at about +40 or higher with deadly aim or power attack online.

Non-blasting powers that get augmented are in many cases just keeping up with (and effectively being, given their cost) higher level spells. Granted a full caster may find themselves leaving an old control spell behind at higher levels (a one-time early morning affair for a wizard, but requiring a bit more care when building up your sorcerer), but there's also a wider available variety of spells to choose at each level.

Energy blasting being something that can change types is an advantage, but as you said, blasting is the least efficient way to cast or use powers. Makes the advantage rather minor. Researching new spells costs gold but gold is a rather minor cost for class abilities.

The system, yes, is 'better'. This cuts both ways; broken spells are far more powerful, and broken-at-the-other-end-of-the-spectrum spells are far worse. A well optimized full caster will easily trump any manifester, but if you're looking for decent balance, you'd have gone with the manifester in the first place.

That's a different path.
Pretty sure that line is just insurance in case some path ever comes with three or more.

Not trusting the others can be a good reason not to show your entire hand, but it's worth repeating: you're giving cause to not be trusted (and people often do pick up on the fact that you're hiding something, if not what it is) in turn, and so should be prepared for sudden "escalation" in the long run. It isn't necessarily right or wrong, just a natural consequence.

I like to encourage, when reasonable/possible, a party that actually trusts eachother a little.

Too late to just edit but I'd like to put up a few numbers regarding total "casting" energy.

A Wizard 20 gets a total of 180 spell levels, before accounting for high stats, spell-triggers and so on. Firing off four of each level costs the 20th level psion 324 of 343 points, leaving just enough for one more shot of a 9th level power perhaps. This assumes the psion never augments powers beyond their base form, however, so that Energy Ray is dealing 1d6 when your magic missiles are doing 5d4+1 for the same 'cost'.

A Sorcerer 20 gets a total of 270 spells per day. Firing 6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6 would be 486 PPs, which is more than you'd have at 36 Int (imagine what that would do for the wizard, or sorc if Charisma).

Sorcerers also know more spells: 34 + 9 bloodline spells versus a Psion's 36, as well as a greater default number (9 vs 2) of cantrips.

Psionic characters have even less total energy and known abilities than full casters, in exchange for near-total control over how that energy is getting spent. A good tradeoff, though the lack of autoscaling stings deeply in comparison.

They're good stuff!

The AC is just 36. You'll miss anyways on a 1 so a 'certain hit' is actually +34. Total 35 (rolling a 1) would miss anyways after all.
Conservatively it's easy to get up there: 20 BAB, +6 stat bonus, +4 magic weapon, +2 weapon training and gloves of dueling. Sure you'll have some penalties from power attack or rapid-shot-and-friends but your actual to-hit bonuses will be higher than this anyways. Don't forget that your extra attacks (from haste, rapid shot, first TWF, etc) are all at your highest BAB. That full attack is not costing you expenditure of a 4th level power to do either, so it does have its advantages even if a few beams can hit as hard more easily.

There's probably a feat or optional that lets you retrain some spells, which is why I'm not being adamant about "never swap spells" for sorcerers, but generally speaking neither they nor psionic classes are going to be changing out their powers with any regularity.

Psions do have "more" fuel to burn, but at the same time much less: augmentation is not free. While magic auto-scales with level for duration, damage and so on, psionics do not. If you're firing off a 10d6 fireball, you're expending a level 3 slot. If you're firing off a 10d6 energy ball (it started at 7d6 because it's a 4th level, not 3rd, power) you're using power in between a 4th (9d6) and 5th (11d6) power.

For Metapsi, increasing cost by 2PP is in fact pretty much exactly "+1 spell level slot", as 2(Lv)-1 is the price formula. Expending focus is an affair of action economy, actions being on of the most precious things a character, monster or NPC has at their disposition. You do get to save a little (6PP is not +4 spell levels) in exchange on the more expensive stuff though. A Wizard firing off all his spells per day, slot by slot level by level, vs a Psion attempting to act the same way would EITHER be much more powerful or last substantially longer; depending upon whether the psion is augmenting his powers to match the level-scaling output of his magical caster friend.

Now certainly they've got their advantages. +5 as a swift is certainly something you can get a lot more use out of, and there's plenty of powers that are, dare I say, just plain better written or balanced. Just as there's bad spells out there there's bad psionic powers, but there's plenty of good stuff on either side, and they're not always the same.

What's this about autohypnosis counting as a "take 15" on any skill? Feat I haven't seen? Because the only listed uses are: Ignore Caltrop Wound, Memorize bit of information, Resist Dying (this part is awesome though as it allows substituting an easy skill check for stabilization), tolerate poison damage, resist fear or "avoid taking 1 damage from acting when disabled". Certainly a great skill to train and use, I concur, but that other ability you speak of????

Regarding attack math it depends on what you are and how optimized you've become. Most bonus attacks above and beyond your iteratives are (with the occasional -2 penalty that really won't harm you if you've built up right) based on your FIRST attack, so at higher levels it's more "your first four attacks are almost guaranteed to hit, your fifth has a decent chance, 6th and 7th are luck or require heavy buffs".

DR is similarly no real limit at higher levels; any typed DR is getting bypassed by materials/alignment/element/whatever or overwhelmed by +X bonuses, and your damage bonuses, particularly in melee (though archers are no slouches in the least) mean that who gets the kill out of the party's damage dealers is mostly a matter of who rolled highest for init; that target probably won't live to see a second volley.

Ranged Touch is a special beast, but only gunslingers really get to abuse it to its limits. Disrupting Strikes is a comfy second, but the real issue behind it is that many "difficulties" are nothing but "and this guy's wearing plate cuz he's their boss", which is specifically exactly the kind of 'toughening up' that ranged touch attacks will never even notice. Tends to cause certain adventure paths to fall right apart, but then so do so, so many other abilities or *spells*.

For powers, they're about as hardwired with chosen powers as sorcerers tend to be. This goes hand in hand with the manifester level limit to PP Expenditure to really put the screws on a character's potentials, keeping them nice and balanced for the most part. Friendly warning: you'll often find the PP limit rule flatly ignored in complaints against psi classes, but it's a fundamental part of the system. A little math on any given 'examples' if they give some will usually show that right quick. A wizard would be (even more) quite broken if spells scaled automatically as they levelled and metamagics didn't up the level slot now wouldn't they?

You may wish to point out that abusing Disrupting Strikes is the only viable offensive use of Disrupt Pattern at such levels. We're talking 10+ here, as it's a 4th level cryptic power.

Already of short range, past level 5 the single shot can be overtaken by normal attacks with ease, proving outright pathetic compared to anyone with 3+ attacks later on (which is particularly problematic once your alternative is 4, 5, 6 or more shots or strikes of whatever weapon you may have).

The disrupt pattern ability does have some nice debilitations and special effects, which are it's main appeal. If you're not burning PPs on Disrupting Strikes by the time you have 4th level powers, you shouldn't have focused on it in the first place. Minimum damage means 'dice are 1s' by the way. Even at full power, 4*10d6+INT (at 20th) is no gamebreaker, and probably won't match the archer.

Unravel Pattern is a Supreme Insight, and only available at level 20, where 150HP or that DC are absolutely nothing. 20+INT FORT makes it unlikey any monster is capable of failing it, and even most PCs will easily shrug off this 1/day ability half the time... if and when their HP has fallen low enough!

Our table rarely keeps such details hidden from the group unless they plan on the inevitable occurring. Too high a chance of 'doppelganger SOP' occurring.

Well, from a more theoretical and less focused-fire standpoint, if a party is to trust each-other with <gear/lives/magicitems/lovedones/equipment/multiverse/weapons/souls/trea sure> as they so often are forced to do, being unwilling to share such basic information is a pretty big faux-pas, so you should at least do so with the same understanding as you have playing a CE assassin in a party with two paladins.

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