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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32. RPG Superstar 6 Season Marathon Voter, 7 Season Dedicated Voter, 8 Season Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 19,766 posts (23,055 including aliases). 17 reviews. 4 lists. 1 wishlist. 13 Pathfinder Society characters. 29 aliases.

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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

99 people marked this as a favorite.

Dispelling the Myths: Caster-Martial Disparity
If you've done much writing or reading 'round these parts on the subjects of game balance or mechanics or class comparison (at least, as they relate to Pathfinder), then you've probably encountered the topic of "caster-martial disparity" (which I'll often be abbreviating to "C/MD"). In a nutshell, it refers to the idea that there's a gap between the capabilities of spellcasters and the capabilities of martials (that is, non-caster classes). Now, let's be clear: my goal here is NOT to convince you that the C/MD does or does not exist. My goal here is to make future conversations more amiable and productive by helping people get on the same page. Maybe at the end of this post you end up changing your opinion one way or the other, or form a new opinion where you previously had none, or even keep whichever opinion you already had. That's not the point. The point is that maybe the next time you come across one of these conversations, you can contribute to a healthy discussion that unites rather than dividing.

You can't have productive conversations if you're talking past each other because you think the other person is saying something different than they mean. We're all interested in open communication, right? Great! Let's get started clearing up some of the common misunderstandings about the caster-martial disparity.

Myth #1: The Caster-Martial Disparity is primarily a combat issue.
This myth is usually not stated like this, but rather couched in some sort of imperative aimed at the person complaining. Something like, "Just tell your casters to stop optimizing so heavily for combat" or "Remember that the game is about more than just combat". Generally, it's a statement that if the other person and/or their group/GM would just put less emphasis on combat, then the C/MD would more or less disappear. This, in turn, indicates that the speaker believes the C/MD is a combat-oriented complaint.

It is certainly true that the C/MD includes combat; however, this is only perhaps 20-30% of what the C/MD is actually talking about. The primary complaints actually center around out-of-combat situations and how the characters are able to interact with the setting and narrative.

For example, where a martial has to make multiple saving throws per day against extreme weather, a simple 1st-level spell completely bypasses that obstacle for 24 hours. A wizard with the 2nd-level spell invisibility active is better at Stealth (even with no ranks) than a rogue with several ranks and a high DEX. The complaint is that for any given non-combat task, the magical solution is typically faster and more likely to succeed than the nonmagical solution (if a nonmagical solution even exists at all), and at a relatively trivial cost compared to what's being accomplished.

Combat is practically an afterthought.

Myth #2: The Caster-Martial Disparity is the product of exploiting loopholes or assuming very liberal interpretations of fuzzy rules.
It is certainly true that there are some spells with unclear boundaries, whose power level varies greatly depending on how their effects are adjudicated. Somewhere out there is somebody who treats charm person as mind control and then cites it as an example of C/MD. However, if you encountered that guy and then assumed he was representative of what the C/MD crowd is talking about, then you've swallowed this myth. Even if everyone complaining about C/MD adopted your interpretations of the unclear spells, the issue would not be solved, because those spells make up a tiny minority of the C/MD complaint.

Many of the most common "C/MD spells" are completely clear. There is no ambiguity in endure elements' ability to keep you from having to make Fortitude saves against harsh weather for 24 hours. There is no doubt that overland flight can get you across more and bigger obstacles than using Acrobatics to jump. The list goes on.

The point is, the people complaining about C/MD are not just those who stretch and twist ambiguous rules elements. Such cases are the exception, not the rule.

Myth #3: The Caster-Martial Disparity refers to just a small handful of obviously-broken spells that are easily identified and banned/houseruled.
This myth has a strong correlation to the previous one, in that they both (mistakenly) believe that the topic is much smaller than it truly is. Whereas the previous myth identifies a handful of ambiguous rules elements and attributes the entire concept of C/MD to them, this myth identifies a handful of overpowered spells/abilities and assumes that the whole C/MD is just talking about those.

As with Myth #2, this is not the case. Yes, things like blood money and simulacrum exist; any of us could easily rattle off a list of half a dozen or more "repeat offenders" without breaking a sweat. And yes, these clearly problematic spells contribute to the C/MD. However, it is not only these spells (nor is it the sum total of these spells and the spells from Myth #2) which give rise to the notion of a C/MD. The idea of the C/MD comes from huge swaths of spells, not from an easily-isolated subgroup.

So, once again, the "obvious" spells that a speaker is thinking of when proclaiming this myth are the minority, not the baseline, in regard to the C/MD.

Myth #4: The Caster-Martial Disparity is only an issue if you're trying to compete with your tablemates, forgetting that you're supposed to be a team.
One of the more judgmental myths, this one presumes that the only reason that it matters if one class might be more powerful than another is if the players are deliberately trying to "one-up" each other, or (as a close corollary) trying to "break" the game or "beat" the GM. Believers in this myth think that the C/MD is an issue of malicious (or at least immature or misguided) intent on the part of the players.

However, there are plenty of reasons this is not true. First, consider the role of a GM in a campaign in which classed humanoids (rather than monsters) are the primary antagonists. If such a GM wants to design, say, a CR 12 encounter for his players, then in theory a trio of 9th-level NPCs should do the trick. If the classes are balanced, then the encounter should be roughly the same difficulty whether the NPCs are all fighters or all wizards. But if the C/MD exists, then suddenly the GM has to adjust the NPCs' levels based on what classes the NPCs are. Nothing to do with player one-upmanship.

Second, consider a single player who, over the course of their gaming career, makes more than one character. The potential presence of the C/MD can matter to that player each time they try to decide on a new character to play. Why? Because if the C/MD is real, then certain classes will offer less or more opportunity to engage the narrative, and (assuming that narrative engagement is something the player wants) the list of classes which can offer that engagement may have little or no overlap with the list of classes which can faithfully represent the type of character they want to play. That is, a player might be left having to make a choice between "stay true to my concept but mostly be a spectator until something needs its HP depleted" or "get to really engage the game but at the cost of having to violate my concept". Once again, no malice or competitiveness to be found, and yet the C/MD matters.

There are other examples, but hopefully this is enough to show that the idea of the C/MD indicating asocial gameplay is nothing but a myth.

Myth #5: The people talking about Caster-Martial Disparity want all the classes to be the same.
Also showing up in broader discussions about class balance, this myth is basically the idea that what the people complaining about C/MD are asking for is for all the classes to be essentially the same, with labels of "magical" and "nonmagical" slapped onto near-identical abilities. This one's slightly more complex than some others, as it can sprout from different stalks, so to speak. Let's try to unpack it.

Sometimes, this myth arises when somebody first hears about the concept of C/MD and sees someone say that a high level martial should be able to duplicate plane shift or dimension door by (nonmagically) cutting open a hole in reality. The listener then understands C/MD to refer simply to classes having different abilities from each other, but doesn't see any real "disparity". In this case, this myth is a simple matter of the listener's first impression coming from a non-representative sample. Yeah, there are some folks out there who would like classes who are functionally near-identical. However, most people who complain about the C/MD want their classes to still be functionally different from each other, just brought closer in power.

Other times, this myth comes from a faulty mindset about the nature of balance. Many people wisely acknowledge that total balance among various game options is not possible (or even necessarily desirable). In fact, I think most people would agree to that. However, some folks seem to make one of two logical leaps: (1) believing that since perfect balance isn't a goal, improved balance shouldn't be a goal either; or (2) believing that the people who are complaining about C/MD are themselves striving for perfect balance. Please believe me when I say that neither of these is the case. While there might be a few outliers out there who wish for perfect balance, the bulk of C/MD discussion centers around simply improving balance, not smoothing everything into a homogeneous blur of nothingness.

Regardless of how one may have come to believe this myth of the desire for same-ness, please recognize that it is just that: a myth. The C/MD discussion is not about trying to make all the classes the same.

Myth #6: The Caster-Martial Disparity assumes a "Schrodinger's Wizard" who somehow manages to always have just the right spell prepped for any given situation.
This myth is the belief that those who complain about C/MD are somehow forgetting or understating the restrictions inherent in having to select your spell preparations at the start of the day. That is, despite a wizard's or cleric's access to a wide variety of spells, on any given day they have to choose which ones to prepare; they might prepare a spell to deal with situation A and then instead encounter situation B. This myth is the belief that the only way to conclude that the C/MD exists is through the ignorance or fudging of this reality; that in practice, the inherent limits of having to select your spells in advance is enough to balance the power of those spells. However, this too is a myth, for two reasons.

First, some spells are simply so versatile, able to overcome so many obstacles, that they're always worth preparing. For example, overland flight increases your travel speed, makes you immune to difficult terrain, helps bypass all sorts of geographical obstacles (rough rivers, cliffs, etc), keeps you safe from enemies whose danger comes from their melee power, and so forth. Summon monster spells can give you access to combat power, utility abilities like Earth Glide or Tremorsense, or even other spells (by means of a summoned creature's spell-like abilities). You don't have to guess whether such a spell will come in handy, because you can almost always find a use for it.

Second, for the spells that truly are situational enough that guessing which ones to prepare could be a real limiting factor, that potential limit is sidestepped by the scroll economy. Lots and lots of situational spells (like invisibility, remove blindness, lesser restoration, see invisibility, etc) are of relatively low level (usually about 1-3). This makes them relatively affordable as scrolls, which can be carried around until needed, without having to make the kinds of tough decisions referenced earlier. On top of that, casters typically have less need of magical weapons or armor, opening up a huge chunk of their budgets for the collection of these situational scrolls. Even in campaigns with relatively low access to the necessary markets for purchasing these scrolls, any spellcaster can take the Scribe Scroll feat and make their own. (Wizards even start with Scribe Scroll for free!)

To put it all together, the existence of scrolls gives casters a way to carry those situational spells without having to make the tough choices of preparation, freeing up their slots for the more powerful spells that give them consistent value day after day. Thus, although Schrodinger's Wizard might show up in an internet argument from time to time, he is by no means a required ingredient for the existence of a C/MD.

Myth #7: The Caster-Martial Disparity only exists in theory; in actual gameplay, it doesn't really happen.
Closely related to Myth #6, this myth gets tossed around a lot. Unfortunately, it's difficult to discuss because the people who say it tend not to give much to go on. Often, they just sort of declare it and expect that to settle the matter. It's also difficult because it usually comes alongside other myths.

For instance, someone might start by declaring that C/MD is just the work of theorycrafters and isn't present in actual gameplay. Then someone tells a story of a caster ending a fight in the surprise round, and the original speaker then invokes Myths #1 and/or #4 ("the game is more than combat"/"stop trying to compete with your friends"). Then someone else offers another story, and the speaker dismisses that one too by invoking another myth. Then another story, and another myth-based dismissal. This repeats over and over. The speaker might hear six different stories and dismiss each with a different myth. If he were to look at the big picture, he would see that he just encountered six different stories from six different people who encountered something he thought wasn't real.

Often, this turns into a pointless cycle: someone claims that C/MD only exists in theory, then they're given stories of actual gameplay. But then they dismiss the stories of actual gameplay as not counting for one reason or another, so people try to demonstrate their points more abstractly. But then they go right back to saying it only exists in theory. And no matter how many times they go around, all they see is an ever-increasing pile of outliers, rather than a trend. In the end, this is the most difficult myth to debunk, because doing so is a matter of getting people to accept that others can have legitimate experiences that are different from their own, and that's not something that you can get most people to do through reason alone.

Going Forward
Again, let me reaffirm that I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about the C/MD. You get to have your opinions. What I'm after here is to help people see that the differing opinions they may encounter might be of a different nature than they originally thought. Hopefully, this can help pave the way for smoother, more informative, more friendly, and more productive conversations in the future. Happy gaming, everyone. :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

So, I've heard a lot of chatter about how cool 5E's "lair" rules are, but all I have is the PHB. Can somebody explain what the lair stuff is, how it works, and maybe give some examples?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Getting an error message when trying to post elsewhere, doing a test post here...

EDIT: And now all is well. No idea what that was about. Oh well, carry on. :)

Gameplay thread created.

Discussion thread created.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So I have this ancient artifact called "TurboGrafx 16". With it is a fun little licensed AD&D game called The Order of the Griffon. It recently occurred to me that converting it into a 5E campaign could be lots of fun.

The nature of the campaign:
Good amount of old-school dungeon crawls, but with particular objectives in mind; you're not just there to kill things and take their stuff. Bit of overland travel as well, and you'll interact with some important NPCs. However, it won't be the sort of campaign where you're frequently at high-society events. So mostly dungeons, wilderness, and some in-town NPC interaction. There will be exceptions of course, but that's the bulk of it.

Also be advised that, in the process of conversion, I'll be making up monster stats and simplifying dungeon maps and modifying NPC interactions to help make the general feel of the campaign translate well into both the system and the medium.

Character creation:
First of all, the premise of the campaign is that there are rumors of a vampire in the land who is generally stirring up trouble, and a local bigwig hires a group of adventurers to investigate. Make the type of character who would take that job. You don't have to be a square-jawed heroic stereotype (though you can be if you want), but you need some kind of motivation to be on this adventure.

There will be a variety of enemies encountered, including both monsters and humanoids. If it matters, probably the single most common type of enemy would be undead, but there's plenty else too, including more than one chance to fight a dragon.

For stats, if you like you can do the 4d6-drop-lowest thing (using the forum dice roller), and build your character from there; or if you prefer a concept-first method, pick a set of stats that looks about in line with what a rolled array might look like and just build a character you like. Don't have to mess with an exact point-buy or anything, just make a character that I would want to include in the party. :)

For races, anything in the PHB is fine, including the variant human. As you might guess, this also means feats are available.

You can use either the listed starting equipment for your class, or the purchase method (using average gold for your class), whichever you prefer.

Start at 1st level.

I'm sure I've forgotten something relevant, so feel free to ask questions. I look forward to seeing everyone's character submissions!

Discussion thread created!

Gameplay thread created!

This is a solo campaign between me and DungeonmasterCal, so anyone else reading, you may as well move on, sorry.

DMCal, once you're here, go to the Gameplay tab and post there. That'll put this game in your "Campaigns" tab in your profile, making it easier to come back and find.

In the meantime, this is where we can discuss character creation and any other pre-game details.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

First, I realize that the preferred first step if someone has a question about a moderation decision is to email Paizo's "community" inbox. I did that already, and didn't get a reply. I waited a while because it was close to GenCon so I figured you guys were swamped, but I think it's been long enough now to assume it got lost in the shuffle. I spent a good long while waffling over whether to come here and ask or just let it drop, but I really would like an answer, so here it goes.

A while back, there was a certain thread that eventually got locked. It was the "Original Gamer argument annoying?" thread. It started off with a bit of grar, but it rapidly cooled as multiple voiced compatible opinions. There was even some levity in the thread; certainly not looking like there was a lock-worthy problem.

In fact, the thread was so happy that someone concluded that there must not be an age/experience-based elitism problem after all. I made a reply to this, asserting (politely, I thought) that yes, it really is something that exists in the community, even if it wasn't looking like it in that thread. I didn't name any names, I didn't cut down anybody (i.e., "Clearly they're acting out of moral/social failing X"), or anything like that; I just asserted that the issue existed.

Within about an hour or so, the post was deleted and the thread locked.

I'm curious to know why. I didn't attack anybody, I didn't think I did anything delete-worthy (let alone lock-worthy), I merely acknowledged an issue, in the same way one might make a general acknowledgement of racism or sexism among the gaming community, without naming names or saying nasty things about those involved.

Is my understanding of acceptable discussion flawed, and I need to recalibrate my sense of how to approach topics like that? I don't think that's the case, as I've seen innumerable examples of very similar posts on a wide variety of topics, which were not deleted and their threads not locked. However, I would rather ask than assume.

Thanks! :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Sadly, the GM for this campaign has disappeared. With no sign of him coming back, I now have an effectively dead campaign taking up space in my campaigns tab without a GM around to mark it as inactive. Is there a way to hide it on my end?


Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Now that it's the time of year that RPGSS tags are appearing under my name in all parts of the forum, they're forcibly widening the page in any thread where I post (rather than breaking up onto two lines), such that I have to scroll back and forth to have conversations.

Is there any sort of workaround for this?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

...because they keep flanking me.

There's normally a sidebar on the left-hand side of my screen when I'm perusing the messageboards, showing recent activity. Except when I'm looking at the blog (or a discussion thereof), in which case it's instead on the right.

Except lately, it's been intermittently showing up on both sides when I'm viewing a forum or reading a thread. Can't figure out why, but it's leaving a lot less room for the actual content of the site.

IE9, if it matters.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

10 people marked this as a favorite.

Note that this doesn't mean he WILL favorite ALL your posts, just that you can ASK him to do so. ;)

Hey Tacticslion, will you favorite this post?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The normally-quiet rural village of Linhaus has been full of excitement since sunrise. Today is the annual Gordon Lightfoot Celebration, a festival held to honor the town's local hero and commemorate the day, three years ago, that he tracked down the mayor's lost daughter in the forest and saved her from a whole pack of wolves that had been killing livestock and keeping people in their homes after dark for nearly a year.

After a morning of games and pie auctions, the townsfolk begin to gather in Town Square, where food tents have been set up for lunch and sweets. Having won a raffle, two elves and a tiefling share a table with the hero Gordon, and are just about to begin eating.

Then, a swift blur and a loud noise stun the group. As your brains catch up to your senses, you realize that a human man has fallen from above and landed in your midst, shattering the table around which you all sit. The man is obviously dead, though it's less obvious whether the cause of death was the fall or the large dagger lodged in his chest.

The excited chatter of the festival is quickly replaced by unsettled murmurs and nervous whispers.

Obviously, the people at the table are you guys. What would you like to do?

Discussion thread created!

Hello gamers,

I'm recruiting for a new homebrew 5E campaign. It's going to be kind of "open-ended", with me starting us off with a plot hook and then crafting the campaign based on what happens and what the PCs decide to do. (That's not to say you'll never run into a dead end, just that I won't have pre-planned rails.)

Even the setting itself will be something we create together as we play. When it becomes relevant to encounter or hear about a given location, religion, creature, artifact, etc; I'll come up with something and that becomes canon.

So, that's the general idea. Here's the starting point:

Our initial "blank slate" will be a fairly generic pseudo-european medieval fantasy setting. The PCs will be starting in a mid-sized town. The campaign will open with one or more events happening, the PCs will respond, and the rest is up to us to create. :)

Character creation parameters:
No evil characters.
PHB only.
This stat array: 15/14/13/12/10/8
All PHB races are allowed (even drow), but be aware that some of the more exotic ones might draw attention.
No pets (animal companions, familiars, etc).
Feats are allowed (including the version of humans that gets one at 1st level, though the standard human is available too).
Your choice of standard gear or gold/purchase (for the latter, pretend all your d4's rolled 3's).
You can either take one of the standard backgrounds, or you can just come up with a pair of values and a flaw and pick some combination of four (total) relevant skills/tools/languages.
Characters will be starting at 1st level.

Gameplay notes:
I don't know the D&D pantheon. Combined with the "create as we go" style of this campaign, this means in-world religion will mostly be generic references to "the gods" until such time as greater specificity is needed. As such, clerics need not pick a deity; you can be a "concept cleric" who is passionate about some particular virtue/domain.
I don't have the MM. I also don't like the possibility of "[MONSTER] would be thematically appropriate here but is too weak/strong for this fight." Therefore, I will be pulling monster stats/abilities out of my arse. Hopefully the result is a renewed sense of exploration and the unknown. :)
Everyone should put a line containing their HP (current and max), AC, and saves into the "Classes" line of their character's profile. This makes it appear under your name in your gameplay posts, so I can see it during play without having to open your profile. Seriously, keep this up to date.

Other considerations:
I want a good pace of posting; at least once per day. I get that sometimes things come up, but if you don't think you can establish a "norm" of at least 1/day, then please don't ask for a spot. Even if it's just "Doofus nods in agreement and follows Buttface into the room," get in there and be a part of the momentum that you want to see. If you anticipate a lapse (due to travel, holidays, etc), please announce it in the discussion thread.

Keep rules discussions in the discussion thread rather than the gameplay thread.

Be a team player, be a part of the fun!


I'm sure I probably missed something obvious. Feel free to ask questions!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm pondering starting up a new PbP, and wanted to see how much interest there would be, before I start putting any real work into it. Here's the idea:

It would be D&D 5E, and characters would be PHB-only.

The campaign would be something of an experiment in open-ended storytelling, with a story arc not fully formed in advance. That is, you would encounter a plot hook or two, you would decide what you want to do, and I would sort of form the campaign around you. So I guess you could call that kind of "sandboxy".

The setting would be created/discovered together by players and GM as a joint narrative. Things not relevant to the story don't exist yet; existence of setting elements begins as said elements become relevant.

Monsters would all be custom-made (partly because I don't have the MM, partly because "[MONSTER] would be thematically appropriate here but is too weak/strong for the party" is lame).

No idea where this would end up. It'd be a shared spontaneous creation of a story and world, where I create things as you explore them.

Does that sound like something I could get a full four(ish) people to play? Let me know if you're interested, and feel free to ask any questions. :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Anybody else watching this show? My wife and I are following it, and it's been pretty good so far.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hi there,
So, Chris just (understandably) locked a thread in the PFS forums regarding the recent SLA FAQ reversal and its implementation in PFS. The thread has indeed gotten pretty nasty at times. By this time yesterday, I'd have totally agreed with the decision to lock it.

Since then, however, the tone has shifted significantly. Some truly calm and well-reasoned posts have been made, and there are some folks really listening to each other. Heck, there's even been more than one person self-initiating apologies for their own behavior—on the internet!

I feel like we were just starting to get some traction on helpful dialogue when the thread got locked. For that reason, and maybe I'm being too hopeful for the thread here, but I'd like to humbly beg you to consider reopening that thread. Thanks.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm wondering if, via Style Feats and the Brawler class, it might be possible to make a PFS-legal character reasonably close to the CP9 characters from One Piece.

Here's my thoughts so far:

Human (for now)

STR 18
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 10
(Stats could change, that's just a starting point.)

Brawler1: Weapon Focus (unarmed strike), Toughness (or something)
Brawler2: Flurry, Pummeling Style
Brawler3: Snake Style <-- Piercing damage for Finger Pistol
Brawler4: Knockout (not really relevant to conversion, but whatever)
Brawler5: Weapon Spec, Tiger Style <-- Slashing damage for Tempest Kick
Brawler6: Not much here
Brawler7: Power Attack
Brawler8: Pummeling Charge

Any thoughts to boost the concept and/or power level? This is just kind of a first draft at the moment.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

Tomb of the Mad Elementalist

Silver Crusade

Hey all,
Just hit 4th level with my human bloodrager (arcane bloodline). Here's what I look like so far:

STR 18 (15 + 2race + 1lvl)
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 13

Traits: Indomitable Will, Friend in Every Town

Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Improved Sunder (also Eschew Materials as a bonus feat)

I have the Spelleater archetype, replacing Uncanny Dodge (and Improved) and my normal DR with getting Fast Healing while raging. Later I'll also be able to "eat" spell slots for some minor, swift-action self-healing.

Anyway, the big thing right now is I need to pick two spells known. With my CHA score, I get 2/day, so I shouldn't pick spells I'll want to cast repeatedly. I also won't have high save DCs (only DC 12 for my 1st-level spells), so "save negates" spells don't seem like a good idea. On the other hand, bloodragers (unlike rangers/paladins) have a full CL instead of level—3, so effects that scale with level are more usable.

So far, I've considered blade lash for some extra combat versatility, burning hands for swarm-killing, feather fall for the occasional "oh crap" moment, shield for tough-looking fights if I don't think my rage-blur will cut it...

I dunno, it seems like there are lots of reasonable options, so I'm having trouble picking. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Pathfinder has a long list of conditions, such as fatigued, exhausted, shaken, entangled, and grappled. Each of these has different effects, but those effects are pre-defined. That is, a spell or ability can simply say "fatigued" without having to spell out the actual mechanical implications of that effect. However, the downside to that is that until you've memorized all these conditions, you have to go look something up every time such an effect is implemented (or use the handy-dandy Condition Cards).

Now imagine a hypothetical universe in which none of those terms were pre-defined, and instead, any given effect simply told you exactly what it did (such as "you get –2 STR/DEX and can't run or charge"). This would lengthen the word count of new spells/feats/etc, but a given player never has to learn more than what currently is affecting him, and doesn't need to follow up being told a condition with a second step of having to look up what it actually means. But, that also means there could be a potentially infinite variety of conditions, along with some inconsistencies among what it means to, for instance, be magically made tired.

I can see pros and cons to both models. What are the community's thoughts on the topic?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

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Soulshifter Staff
Aura strong necromancy; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 90,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
This smooth, unadorned staff is carved of pristine ivory on one end and dark onyx on the other. It allows the use of the following spells:

  • Vampiric touch (1 charge)
  • Breath of life (2 charges)
  • Slay living (2 charges)

Additionally, this staff’s power can be used to control the flow of life energy beyond the normal limits of the spells listed above. When using the soulshifter staff to cast vampiric touch, the wielder may spend 1 additional charge to divide the temporary hit points evenly among any number of allies within 30 feet. Whenever the wielder kills a creature with slay living, he may spend an immediate action to cast breath of life, targeting any creature within 30 feet. Conversely, if the wielder successfully revives a slain creature via breath of life, he may spend an immediate action to cast slay living against any target within 30 feet, using a ranged touch attack instead of a melee touch attack. Spells cast as immediate actions in this way consume 1 more charge than normal.

Requirements Craft Staff, Quicken Spell, breath of life, slay living, vampiric touch; Cost 45,000 gp

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

By that I mean, sometime in the last day or two I've noticed that whenever I'm viewing a thread, the page is wider than normal. I end up having to scroll back and forth to read posts. No idea why.

If it matters, I'm using IE.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Why do you roleplay? Why do you GM? What aspects are important to you? Why? Please try to stick to "I prefer" and not "This is The Way". It's okay for people to want other things, and your desires are no more important than theirs. This is an opportunity to learn about each other, to discover the ways in which we might not be as much the "norm" as we think we are, and thereby grow. :)


My interest in Pathfinder includes some of the same things that motivate all my pastimes: having fun, socializing, etc. But the reason why I spend a given block of time playing Pathfinder instead of doing other things I enjoy is largely my ability to influence how the story plays out. I love movies, but PFS is my chance to switch from "Why didn't they just do X?" to "I do X." Although I love and embrace classic storytelling tropes, roleplaying is my chance to turn those tropes on their heads, to make the story actually play out differently for a change. It's the only story-related experience where I get to help shape it. It's also the only story-related experience that I can't predict (at least, without turning my brain off, which I often do during movies so I can experience "the ride").

It's my only outlet to combine storytelling and agency. I can get the former with movies and the latter with other games, but roleplaying is the sweet synthesis of the two. :)

When I GM, my main goal is that the players are free to enjoy the game for their reasons, not mine; though I do always hope to see a little of "my kind of stuff" if I'm lucky. :)

That's me. How about the rest of you?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Not sure if this is the right place for this sort of question, but here goes:

I'm writing a new d20 fantasy roleplaying system. It was originally intended to be somewhat Pathfinder-compatible, but it's evolved to be so much of its own thing that it couldn't possibly be considered such.

Even so, there are a few basic similarities, and I want to make sure I don't run afoul of the OGL.

1) My game's core mechanic for success/failure is rolling a d20 and adding modifiers, trying to meet or beat a target number. Do I need to worry about OGL stuff for that concept?

1a) Does it make a difference whether I say "roll" or "check"?
1b) Does it make a difference whether I say "difficulty" or "DC"?

2) My game uses six stats: three physical, three mental, like Pathfinder. How does that relate to the OGL?

2a) Does it make a difference whether I say "attribute" or "ability score"?
2b) Does it make a difference whether I say "Dexterity" or "Agility" (and so forth with the other stats, though I'm not sure of an alternate word for "Strength")?

3) Characters grow in power by gaining "levels". Is that OGL, or is it generic enough to not matter?

4) Certain noncombat activities involve what I'm currently calling "skills", which are similar in concept to Pathfinder's skills (and still use the "d20+mods vs target number" mechanic), but it's a different list of skills and their implementation is different. OGL?

4a) Does it make a difference if I come up with a term other than "skill"?
4b) Does it make a difference if some of the skills do or do not have the same name as a Pathfinder skill? (Frex, I'm not sure of an alternate word for "Acrobatics".)

Aaaaand that's about where the similarities to Pathfinder end. I want to do this proper, so any guidance is appreciated. Thanks!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I think that the ACG finally adds enough tools to let me make a non-small lance-wielding combatant on a flying mount from level 1. Let's see what we can do here:

I'm liking the giant wasp's 60ft fly speed with good maneuverability. So to make that work, I'll be a human with Eye for Talent, sacrificing my bonus feat to raise the wasp's INT to 2 (losing the mindless quality, but letting him learn enough tricks to actually be usable).

The wasp is only medium, so my 1st-level feat is going to be Undersized Mount so I can ride him.

That leaves his carrying capacity; if memory serves, he needs to be within a light load in order to fly. As a hunter, I'll get animal focus, which will let me grant the wasp a constant +2 STR (and more later). Since he's a quadruped (well, more than that, but we only have rules for quadrupeds) he gets 1.5x carrying capacity. That puts him in the 60s for a light load.

So my first spell known will be ant haul, tripling his carrying capacity (into a comfortable 190-ish) for 2 hours per level. At 1st-2nd level, I'll probably be carrying scrolls of that. Soon I can just get by on spell slots, though.


At first level, my stats will be:
STR 18 (16+2)
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 08
WIS 14
CHA 10

Or something in that neighborhood. Not sure.

Then I can cast A.H. on my wasp and mount up, performing 120ft flying charges with a lance for 2d8+12 damage.

Now, here's the tricky part:
That means that at first level I'm functional, but haven't even gotten started on real feats yet.

So do I stay mono-hunter and take Mounted Combat at 3rd, Power Attack at 5th, and so on?

Or do I go like this:
Hunter1: Undersized Mount
Fighter1: Boon Companion, Mounted Combat
Fighter2: Power Attack
Fighter3: Ride-by Attack
Fighter4: Spirited Charge

Basically, a 4-level fighter dip starting at 3rd nets me two extra feats (gain 3 combat feats, but lose a feat to Boon Companion). Is that a good idea?

Any other ideas to make this build work out?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I could swear I've heard of a feat that allows you to ride a mount that's the same size category as you, instead of needing it to be bigger. Could somebody point me in the right direction?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I have another task for those forumites who enjoy mathy stuff. :)

So let's say I have a character named Alice. She attacks once per round at +15 to hit and deals 2d6+20 damage on a hit. (For my reference: 10+5+5)

Now let's say I also have a character named Bob. He can attack twice per round. Each attack is at +11 to hit for 1d6+14 damage.

Now suppose I have a third character, this one named Charlene. She can attack four times per round. Each attack is at +11 to hit and deals 1d6+8 damage.

Against target ACs of 15, 20, and 25; what is the average damage per round for each of these characters? Please do not factor in crits.

Thanks in advance!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

That is all.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm hoping someone would be willing to do some hypothetical math for me.

Let's suppose that we've got a character, call her Alice, who can attack once per round at +15 to hit for 6d6+21 damage. (Just go with it, okay?)

Now let's suppose we have a second character, call him Bob, who can attack twice per round at +10 to hit, with each hit dealing 3d10+15 damage.

Now let's further suppose we have a third character, call her Charlene, who can attack four times per round, at +13 to hit, each time dealing 3d8+9 damage.

Finally, let's suppose we have a fourth character, call him Dan, who is exactly like Charlene except for an unfortunate -2 penalty on all attack rolls.

Against various target ACs, and without factoring in crits, how does the DPR compare on these four characters?

Thanks in advance for the math!

Silver Crusade

Hello all,

Just hit 3rd level in PFS, and I'm looking for some advice on feat selection. Here's my build so far:
Human (Varisian)
STR 17
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 13

Bloodrager 3 (Spelleater archetype)

Traits: Friend in Every Town (+1Diplo/class skill), Indomitable Will (+1 Will)

Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack

Bloodline: Arcane

I fight with a longsword; I can two-hand for the same damage bonuses as a two-hander, but I'm not hosed if I get grappled or need to fight while carrying a macguffin or whatever.

(You can also click my name to get an idea of my concept/backstory.)

I'm planning on my first bloodline feat being Iron Will. And once I get an item to boost my CON (possibly an ioun stone, since I'll want my belt in STR), I'll spend my next feat on Raging Vitality, which I don't currently qualify for. That'll likely be at 7th level.

So for right now, here's what I'm considering:
Cosmopolitan: Grabbing a couple of languages and class skills could help make him more versatile. But which skills would I pick?
Toughness: Make up for not having the d12 HD that normally comes with the rage penalty to AC.
Steadfast Personality: Extra buffer on those Will saves (at least, the ones that really count). Only +1 at the moment, but will scale up a bit.

Thoughts? Thanks!

Silver Crusade

Hello! I just hit 8th level in PFS, so I need to pick my first 4th-level spell. And since I'm a human taking the alternate FCB, I also need to pick a 3rd-level spell. Bloodline is Elemental (Primal [electricity]) and my CHA is currently 26.

Going from memory on existing spells known:

3rd level
Protection from Energy (bloodline)
Lightning Bolt
Hold Person

2nd level
Scorching Ray (bloodline, electricity only)
Burst of Radiance
Pilfering Hand
See Invisibility

1st level
Burning Hands (bloodline, electricity only)
Mage Armor
Magic Missile
Silent Image
Liberating Command
????? (can't remember)

So I need a 3rd- and 4th-level spell. I see several juicy options, so I'm a bit indecisive. Also, since I'm hitting an even level, should I make a swap somewhere?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

(Players in my Impact at Woodhaven campaign, stay out!)

So I'm running a homebrew campaign for a party of four. The two frontliners use exotic weapons: one a katana, the other a two-bladed sword. I want to drop my players some cool loot, but somehow, finding the specific exotic weapon you specialize in as loot feels a bit... contrived compared to finding, say, a +3 longsword or a ring of protection.

Any suggestions on how to work in cool exotic weapons as loot without it straining credulity?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hey all,

I'll be going to GenCon for the first time, and it's right around the corner! It has now occurred to me that I'm signed up for a couple of Tier 1-5 scenarios, and currently all I have in-tier is a 3rd-level cleric.

In case I'm at an otherwise low-level table, I'd like to have another low-level PC available.

I have a 3XP GM credit baby, so I could start a new PC at 2nd level. The downside is that I don't have much time to prepare, and whatever I threw together would be locked in permanently. Also, with tieflings and aasimar going away, that slot is my last chance at such a race, so it's a bit valuable to potentially lose. But on the plus side, he'd end up very close to 3rd level, the point where I actually have a good chance of playing him in the foreseeable future. (I've played most low-level scenarios, and my local PFS scene tends to keep re-running the old favorites, so some of the older ones I missed come up so rarely that all it takes is one scheduling conflict to keep me locked out of it for another year or longer.)

Alternatively, I could just start a totally fresh PC with 0XP. This has the advantage of being able to still change things after the fact, but on the downside, it means that at the end of GenCon I have two different slots at 3XP or less, and not very many low-level scenarios to play them in. Given that I recently retired a character at 13.2, will be retiring another after GenCon, and my next will be 7th and then the next 3rd; having two characters stuck at bottom tier means they won't be played for a long time.

Any suggestions/advice?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Paizo PRD has a handy page of monsters by CR, but it's limited to the first Bestiary. Is there another site somewhere that has multiple Bestiaries compiled into a single list that is (or can be) sorted by CR?


Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm working on a massive set of houserules (to the point of really being more like a new game), and right now I'm looking at the concept of being denied your DEX bonus to AC.

I like the idea of having a mechanic that represents the ability to catch your opponent unawares (or in a position where their defense is compromised, such as while climbing). However, I'm not sure I like it being a denial of DEX to AC.

This is in part because of how it affects characters differently based on DEX score. Someone with 10-11 DEX is identically easy/hard to hit regardless of whether they saw you coming or not? Really?

Additionally, my new system involves a scaling defense based on your combat ability. Thematically, that would have to go away if DEX went away, which would be HUGE, but if I didn't do that it'd be kind of a weird thematic disconnect.

What I'm thinking of instead is having a "condition" of sorts (maybe called "off-guard" or something) where the attacker gets a flat bonus (maybe +2?) against you if you're "off-guard" against their attack.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I've recently decided to see what happens if I re-write most of Pathfinder from the ground up. Since I'm starting from scratch on almost everything, I have the opportunity to examine not only the "issues" that inspired me to attempt this in the first place, but also things that are probably okay but I now have room to change.

One such topic is the role of armor. Some systems (like Pathfinder and D&D) represent armor's effect on combat by having it simply reduce the chances of an enemy successfully landing a meaningful blow. This is somewhat backed up by a very brief look at Wikipedia, where I learned that (at least with some armors) enemies would respond to it by simply aiming for the joints or other weak spots rather than trying to punch through it. Thus, they're aiming for a smaller target: you have a higher AC.

Other systems (as well as a set of variant rules for Pathfinder in UC) have armor simply absorb some of the damage you would have taken from a blow. This seems to assume that an attacker would try to hit you in exactly the same manner as they would if you were unarmored, and the armor simply gets in the way. This idea goes contrary to what I learned above, but on the other hand, certain piercing weapons (such as especially thin swords) were developed for breaking chainmail; similarly, while plate armor was apparently nigh-impervious to slashing weapons and highly resistant to piercing weapons, apparently heavy blows still hurt and so people developed heavy hammers/polearms/maces to just beat you to death inside your plate armor. Additionally, flexible armors like chainmail, while unlikely to be cut, often simply converted slashing damage to bludgeoning, so you still got hurt.

Seems there's support for either method.

Part of me wants to go the direction of armor absorbing damage, and maybe even make combat a little more dynamic by having certain weapons (or types of weapons) reduce or bypass that DR for certain armors. Like, maybe rapiers and arrows face reduced resistance from chain, while certain heavy bludgeoning weapons are less affected by plate.

Additionally/alternatively, what if different types of armor granted different mixes of AC/DR? Like, maybe chain is mostly just DR because it just cushions/protects, while plate offers more deflection because a glancing blow can slide off of it?

And then of course that's just the "realism" side; there's also the "game" side. Which methods are more fun? Does watching damage types or having different effects for different armor add too much work to combat?

What are folks' thoughts on the role of armor in a d20 system?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

After our second TPK in Mummy's Mask, my group brought in replacement characters on the fly so we could finish our session. Because of the semi-rushed circumstance, the GM is allowing us to make tweaks to our builds before the next session.

Not knowing what to make, I reached for nostalgia: my first RPG character, the character for which I bought my first mini, translated from a 4E swordmage to a Pathfinder magus.

His name is Khaved, and he's a tiefling who highly values magic and intellect, preferring them over things he would call brutish. Please keep this in mind when making suggestions.

So here's what I originally cobbled together:

STR 12
DEX 18 (16+2)
CON 14
INT 16 (14+2)
WIS 10
CHA 06 (8-2)

Stats use a 20pt buy, and I went with my personal default of 16/14/14/12/10/8 because it's as close as a 20pt array can get to the Heroic NPC stat array of 15/14/13/12/10/8 (since that represents a "real" person in the game world). However, I'm open to the possibility of tweaking these numbers slightly.

I'm not interested in any of the magus archetypes, so no worries there.

Alternate racial traits include Prehensile Tail (because I'm not a sorcerer) and Scaled Skin (traded out non-fire resistances for +1 natural armor).

Character traits include Sphinx Riddler (campaign trait, don't even remember what it does, but it's related to intellectualism) and Clever Wordplay (to use INT for Diplomacy; very on-theme).

He's at 2nd level (where he started), with his first and only feat being Weapon Finesse. Currently uses a shortsword and a chain shirt.

Seems like the conventional wisdom assumes that 3rd level brings Dervish Dance; are there any other schools of thought for a DEX magus? (Partly because he's more of a Nethys guy than a Sarenrae guy, and the GM hasn't decided yet whether he'd let me apply it to a longsword instead.)

Should I tweak STR up to 13 so I can take Power Attack later? Should I go non-Dervish so I can use an actual light weapon and take Piranha Strike? What should I be building toward in the future?

All guidance appreciated, thanks!

This morning passed like any other morning in Woodhaven; you woke up, had some breakfast, maybe prepared spells, and went about your daily business. Noontime came and went, you hit up the Befuddled Bugbear for a sandwich and a drink, chatted with the locals for a while, and went back to the daily grind.

Then you heard something like a clap of thunder, followed by another similar rumble. Or maybe two more? It was hard to tell. Running out into the street, you saw chaos. Somewhere several blocks away, smoke was beginning to rise into the air. Screams could be heard, first from a distance but quickly spreading.

No sooner have you begun to wrap your head around the town's sudden frenzy than you notice Guard Captain Arriaga—the dwarven woman who leads the town guard and manages most of Woodhaven's daily affairs—walking briskly and pointedly toward you.

"You lot, there!" she says, pointing at you and a few other bystanders. "I've got a job for you. Something hit the city; I'm thinking at least two impacts. We don't know yet if it's natural or some kind of attack, but I've got to get the citizens under control before panic takes too strong a hold. I'm short-staffed as it is, and I still need someone to go check on the mayor at his estate. Since you seem to be the only non-guards who don't need immediate wrangling, I'm drafting the lot of you for the task. Here."

She pulls a folded piece of paper from her pocket and hands it to one of you.

"Give that to the man stationed at the north gate, and he'll give you a supply pack, in case you run into trouble. Exit through that gate and follow the footpath northeast. The mayor's house is just on the other side of the first hill; you can't miss it. Verify his status, secure the estate if need be, then report back to me. Now move!"

With that, she hustles in the direction of the screams and begins barking orders at the guards who have begun arriving in the area.

Discussion thread is up! :D

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Prerequisite: Fighter level 11th
Benefit: When you drink a potion of fox's cunning, you can choose to replace its effects with the following:
You become a casting machine—smarter, fiercer, and more skilled in spellcasting. Your mindset changes so that you relish arcane magic and you can't use weapons (except rays), even if you're proficient with them.
You gain a +6 enhancement bonus to Intelligence (though you gain no additional skill ranks or languages from this increase), a +5 competence bonus to Will saving throughs, and the effects of darkvision, mirror image and overland flight. You gain the following spell-like abilities, each usable once, using your fighter level as your caster level and your (boosted) Intelligence modifier to determine saving throw DCs: magic missile, true strike, touch of fatigue, blindness/deafness, glitterdust, scorching ray, dispel magic, hold person, stinking cloud, black tentacles, dimension door, enervation, cloudkill, dominate person, and baleful polymorph. When you reach fighter level 14th, add plane shift and finger of death to this list. At fighter level 16th, add horrid wilting. At fighter level 18th, add dominate monster.
Your base attack bonus becomes equal to half your character level, you lose your armor and shield bonuses to AC, and your current and maximum hit points are reduced by 2 per character level.
The effects of this feat last for 1 round per character level. You may use this feat once per day at fighter level 11th, twice per day at fighter level 13th, and three times per day at fighter level 15th.


Whaddya think, balanced?

Hi folks,

I have an idea for a homebrew Pathfinder campaign. I have the beginning and the overall premise/background, but I'm having trouble mentally fleshing it out. So what I'd like to do is just start it up and let the action drive the creation of the next step. Little bit risky, as it's always possible that it could get big and complicated enough to require retcons or even just completely implode. But hopefully, it will be a fun and (for me) informative experience. :)

If you're still interested while knowing the above, here are the parameters you need to know if you want to play in this campaign:

    PCs begin at 2nd level, with 1,000gp for starting gear.
    Everyone uses the Heroic NPC stat array of 15/14/13/12/10/8.
    Max HP for 1st level, average (rounded up) for each level thereafter (i.e., d10 is 6HP, d6 is 4HP, etc).
    No gunslingers, summoners, or alchemists.
    No item creation feats except Scribe Scroll or Brew Potion, but even for those I make no promises regarding how much downtime you'll have for your scribing and brewing.
    Core races only.
    No evil PCs.
    No traits. Instead, pick one save to get a +1 bonus and one skill to make a class skill. Feel free to swap one of those options for a second helping of the other (including the possibility of boosting the same save twice).
    PCs must be the kinds of people who would get involved upon seeing an emergency happen, but feel free to get creative as to why.
    Most stuff from the core hardback line is probably fine, but nothing setting-specific (except the CRB deities) and no 3.5 or 3PP stuff.
    If your build centers around something that you'd feel cheated if it got vetoed down the line, ask about it upfront. I reserve the right to change my mind if something causes unforeseen issues.
    Make sure you check out the houserules below!
    Please only submit if you're confident that you can with reasonable consistency post at least once each day.

I *think* that's everything. If you're interested in playing, then post a reply under a character alias, including a little idea of who the character is and what they're doing in a smallish rural town that I'll call... um... Woodhaven. Yeah, Woodhaven. Sounds good. :)




For the most part, there's no such thing as a full-attack. Instead of gaining more attacks from a high Base Attack Bonus, you gain more damage on your existing single attack. As a standard action (the "Attack" action), you make a single attack. When your Base Attack Bonus reaches +6, your standard attack (but not things like Attacks of Opportunity or special attacks like Spring Attack) deals additional damage. Roll your weapon damage dice and add your Strength-based damage, then add this total to your normal damage to get your final damage total. At BAB +11 and BAB +16, your damage further increases in the same way. For example, if you were wielding a greatsword (2d6 damage), had 18 STR (bonus +4, damage +6 due to being a two-handed weapon), and attacked with BAB +11, your attack would deal 6d6+18 damage. Any additional damage (from weapon enhancements, feats, etc) is then added to the total a single time.

If you have Two-Weapon Fighting, Rapid Shot, or Flurry of Blows; your standard attack action lets you perform two attacks (with appropriate penalties as defined by these abilities), and each deals damage according to the above progression. Strength-based damage is NOT halved for your off-hand weapon.

If you have two claw attacks, you can attack with both as a standard attack action. Certain monsters can attack with more natural weapons (possibly as a full-round action, depending on the monster). Natural attacks never get increased damage from a high BAB.

Class abilities or feats that specify needing a full-round action (such as Spring Attack or Whirlwind Attack) still require a full-round action; they are not reduced to a standard action. However, if an element of that action emulates a full-attack (such as the attacks granted by Spell Combat), the ability grants a single attack with damage that increases with BAB instead of multiple attacks.


Arcane Armor Training/Arcane Armor Mastery/Arcane Strike: These feats do not require swift actions to activate. They're simply always in effect.

Double Slice: This feat does not exist, as it is not needed due to other houserules.

Improved Two-Weapon Fighting: This feat does not exist, nor do any feats which list it as a prerequisite.

Power Attack: The damage gained from this feat does not change based on whether your attack is two-handed, an off-hand, etc. It is always +2 damage for –1 attack (scaling with BAB as written).

Vital Strike: This feat does not exist, nor do any feats which list it as a prerequisite.

Weapon Finesse: This feat also applies to the quarterstaff.

Whirlwind Attack: This feat does not include Combat Expertise as a prerequisite.


Being on fire: In addition to the normal 1d6 fire damage taken each round when you're on fire, you also take 1 point of Constitution damage. If you take no fire damage from being on fire (such as through magical protections or other resistances), you also do not take the CON damage.
This only applies to actually being on fire, not special fire effects that simply last more than 1 round. For instance, a direct hit from a flask of alchemist's fire deals 1d6 fire damage for two rounds in a row, but does not deal any CON damage.

Falling: For every 5 points of lethal falling damage taken from a fall, you also take 1 point of Dexterity damage.

Smashing into stuff: If you get slammed into a wall, smashed through a table, etc; you take damage equal to the unarmed strike damage of the guy who threw you into said obstacle, plus additional damage equal to the obstacle's hardness. This damage might increase or decrease based on the specific obstacle, or if atypical means are used to toss you into an obstacle. How do you accomplish this yourself? A bull rush or reposition that involves moving the target at least 10 feet will do it. Or, if you maintain a grapple, you can select (instead of one of the normal options) to move the victim at least 10ft into an obstacle within your reach.


Base Attack Bonus: Nothing requires a Base Attack Bonus of +1. If something says it requires BAB +1, ignore that requirement. Whether it's a feat like Exotic Weapon Proficiency with a prerequisite of BAB +1, or the rule stating that you can draw a weapon on the move once you have BAB +1, that requirement is waived.

Swift and immediate actions: These action types are completely separate. Instead of an immediate action costing you your next swift action, you simply get one of each action type each round.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I know we talk a lot about trying to reduce table variation, but sometimes it's a built-in part of the ruleset. As such, sometimes it's good for a player to find ways to work with table variation instead of chafing against it.

Case in point: I've been kicking around the idea of making an illusionist. It would be a fun use of my boon allowing a Thassilonian specialist, it would be unique because most folks locally don't play illusionists, and there's potential room for creativity/humor/fun.

Of course, part of the reason I don't see a lot of illusionists running around is probably because of all the table variation on how illusions and disbelief work.

And that's okay. :)

So I was thinking, how could I work with my GM if I'm going to be bringing the disbelief rules into every session? I came up with an idea, and I'd like feedback on it from the PFS community.


Before the session starts, I approach the GM. I say something along the lines of: "Hi! I'm playing an illusionist. I know everybody runs illusions and disbelief a little differently, so I wanted to get an idea of how you run them at your table before we start. After all, my character would know how his spells work, so it's best if I do too. Here:"

I then hand him a card I will have prepared. It's divided into three boxes, each labeled with a quote from the illusion rules:
Box 1: "Creatures encountering an illusion usually do not receive saving throws to recognize it as illusory..."
Box 2: "...until they study it carefully or interact with it in some fashion."
Box 3: "A character faced with proof that an illusion isn't real needs no saving throw."

Upon handing him the card, I explain: "If you could jot down a basic example of each of those three situations from the illusion rules, then I wouldn't need to pester you with questions during the game. I'll know what to aim for and what to avoid, without having to waste table time asking about every single illusion I cast. Sound good?"

Lots of smiling and friendly tone, of course. :)


So what does everyone think? Is that a reasonable, concise way of getting enough of an idea of a GM's interpretation of illusions to make for a smoother game? Does it need work? Any feedback?


Scarab Sages

Seeking some advice.
This profile is my 2nd-level PFS cleric. The concept is a bit of a cerebral type, interested in knowledge and learning and secrets and such. Likes to find stuff out.

He's more of a reader/learner than a fighter. But of course, combat is inevitable. The plan is to focus on spellcasting rather than weapons, which will be fine later, but right now I get 3 non-domain spells per day.

With a wizard or sorcerer, I could be spamming ray of frost or daze or something. But I get no such cantrips as a cleric. I could have taken one of the domains that gives you a laserbeam 3+WIS/day, but I didn't.

So that leaves me with a crossbow. :/

Here's a rundown of the character at the moment:

STR 09 (11-2)
DEX 14 (12+2)
CON 12
INT 14
WIS 18 (16+2)
CHA 10

Domains: Knowledge (Memory), Trickery
Traits: Seeker, Birthmark
Feats: Toughness

My ultimate issue here is figuring out what to spend my actions on in combat at low levels. Later I'll be casting SoS spells (hold person, sound burst, plane shift, etc) all day, but what about for right now?

Obviously, I'm not hitting anything with my crossbow. I could stand behind people and spam guidance, but that's gonna get boring a couple levels in. I could get a wand/some scrolls of bless, but that really only gives me something to do on round 1. Maybe run around buffing people with a wand of shield of faith? By the time people have their rings, I won't be needing a fallback plan as much, so maybe that would work? Or are there some interesting (perhaps alchemical?) items I could be using? Not counting situational stuff like anti-invisibility measures or whatever, I'm looking for bread-and-butter actions.


Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Continuing what I started with Swordsmanship and Hammer Mastery, here's a line of feats for fighters who specialize in piercing weapons, whether rapiers, spears, picks, or whatever else. Let me know what you think!

Piercer (Combat)
When you take this feat, choose a manufactured piercing melee weapon for which you have Weapon Focus. This feat's effects only apply to the chosen weapon.
Prerequisites: Weapon Focus, fighter level 2nd
Benefit: Whenever you score a critical hit with your chosen weapon, your strike wounds the target, dealing 1 point of bleed damage for a number of rounds equal to half your fighter level. Multiple critical hits against the same creature do not increase the bleed damage.

Improved Piercer (Combat)
Prerequisites: Piercer, fighter level 5th
Benefit: Whenever you score a critical hit with your chosen weapon, you may twist your weapon as a swift action. If you do, the target takes 1d4 Dexterity damage. This is in addition to the bleed damage inflicted by the Piercer feat.

Greater Piercer (Combat)
Prerequisites: Improved Piercer, fighter level 10th
Benefit: The bleed damage from your Piercer feat now functions as the wounding weapon special ability; it applies to each hit, multiple hits increase the amound of bleed damage, and it lasts until stopped instead of for a fixed duration. Additionally, the Dexterity damage dealt by Improved Piercer increases to 1d6.

Elder Piercer (Combat)
Prerequisites: Greater Piercer, fighter level 14th
Benefit: The Dexterity damage dealt by your Improved Piercer feat increases to 2d4. Alternatively, you may choose to deal 1d6 Constitution damage instead. This choice is made each time you use this feat.

Nail Down (Combat)
Prerequisites: Improved Piercer, fighter level 9th
Benefit: As a standard action, you may attempt to impale your opponent and pin him to the floor or wall. Make an attack with your chosen weapon. If the attack hits, you deal damage normally and also get to hamper your opponent. If the target is standing, you may pierce his leg. If he is prone, legless, or next to a wall, you may instead choose to pierce his torso.
If you pierce his leg, he cannot move from his space. He is considered grappled, except that he may use both hands freely. He must succeed at a grapple check against you as a standard action to free himself, and the attempt causes him to take 2d6 damage.
If you pierce his torso, he is grappled and cannot move from his space. Any strenuous action he attempts (such as attacking or casting a spell) results in 1 point of Constitution damage. Freeing himself requires a successful grapple check as a standard action, and the attempt results in 1d4 Constitution damage.
In order to use this feat, you must hold your weapon in place with both hands, preventing most other actions you might wish to perform. Holding the weapon in place with only one hand reduces the DC to escape by 5. You may remove the weapon (freeing the opponent without further harm) as a move action.
You may only use this feat against a creature of your size or smaller.

Run Through (Combat)
Prerequisites: Elder Piercer, fighter level 18th
Benefit: As a full-round action, you may attempt to slay your opponent by putting your chosen weapon through a vital spot. If you succeed on a touch attack, you run him through and he must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half your fighter level + your Dexterity modifier) or be slain. On a successful save, the target instead takes 2d4 points of Constitution damage. This ability only works against living creatures with discernable anatomy. You may use this ability once per day at fighter level 18th, twice per day at 19th, and three times per day at 20th.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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In a vein similar to my Swordsmanship feats, here's some ways for a fighter who specializes in things like hammers (or clubs, etc) to be fantastic.

Hammer Mastery (Combat)
You are well-trained in the use of heavy bludgeoning weapons. Select a non-light bludgeoning weapon other than a shield for which you have selected the Weapon Focus feat. This feat only applies to that weapon.
Prerequisites: Weapon Focus, Fighter level 2nd
Benefit: Your blows are so fierce that even a glancing blow can rattle an enemy inside his armor. Attacks with your chosen weapon ignore an amount of the target's armor bonus to AC equal to half your fighter level.

Improved Hammer Mastery (Combat)
Your heavy hammerfalls are too fierce to be stopped by mere metal.
Prerequisites: Hammer Mastery, Fighter level 5th
Benefit: Whenever you make an attack with your chosen weapon and miss by 5 or less, you smash through the target's defenses; if the target is wielding a shield, roll damage as though your attack had hit and apply it to the target's shield (applying hardness as normal). If the target is not using a shield, instead apply this damage to their armor. If the target is using neither armor nor shield, this feat has no effect.

Hammer Arc (Combat)
The momentum of your mighty swings can crash through multiple opponents.
Prerequisites: Improved Hammer Mastery, Fighter level 7th
Benefit: You can swing your chosen weapon in an arc, striking at all enemies in its path. When you use this feat, choose three squares within your reach; each chosen square must border at least one other selected square (not counting diagonals). As a standard action, you can make one attack against each enemy in those squares, rolling separately for each target. At fighter level 13th, 16th, and 19th, increase the number of squares you can select by 1.

Hammer Slam (Combat)
The weight of your blows sends enemies staggering back.
Prerequisites: Improved Hammer Mastery, Fighter level 9th
Benefit: Whenever an attack with your chosen weapon either scores a critical hit or rolls maximum damage on the weapon damage dice, you can choose to knock the target back. The target is subjected to a bull rush maneuver, treating your critical confirmation roll (or attack roll, if the triggering attack was not a critical hit) as your combat maneuver check. This ability does not provoke attacks of opportunity, nor does it require its own action. Successfully pushing a foe with this ability does not allow you to follow them as a normal bull rush would.

Heavy Swat (Combat)
Prerequisites: Hammer Slam, Fighter level level 12th
Benefit: Whenever you push a foe at least 10 feet with your Hammer Slam feat, that foe is also knocked prone.

Rattle the Cage (Combat)
Prerequisites: Heavy Swat, Fighter level 16th
Benefit: Whenever you knock an enemy prone with Heavy Swat, that creature is stunned for 1 round.

Beat the Bolt (Combat)
Prerequisites: Heavy Swat, Fighter level 14th
Benefit: You can deflect magic with a swing of your hammer. As a readied action, you can swing your selected weapon at a spell, spell-like ability or supernatural ability that targets you or includes you in its area. This functions much like using dispel magic to counterspell, using your fighter level as your caster level for the dispel check. This check also gains your bonus from Weapon Focus and (if applicable) Greater Weapon Focus, as well as any enhancement bonus your weapon possesses. This even works against magical effects that normally cannot be counterspelled. If successful, you swat the magic away, leaving you unaffected. In the case of an area effect, your space is no longer considered part of the area.
Should your dispel check result in a natural 20, a targeted effect is sent back at its caster, much like a spell turning effect.

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