in my home games i havent had a single gm that allowed 3rd party material. i would buy the books, want to play something but the gm would say no every time. i stopped buying 3rd party material because of that. if people want 3rd party developers to be sucessful and accepted in home games, and even paizo products, 3rd party producers need to do something drastic to change the stigma they have in the eyes of the average gamer.
This may not help, but I think that Dreamscarred's Psionics material is a good "gateway" 3PP. Like PF itself, it's an update of 3.5 material, so it's familiar to anyone who played 3.5 (and didn't arbitrarily wig out about psionics), and it's pretty well done.
You can basically use whatever system you and the druid player are comfortable with; provided that you're at least generous enough that the player eventually has access to at least a small variety of forms (something that can fly, something that's big, something that's good at fighting but fits in a hallway, possibly something that can swim), then the druid class doesn't fluctuate hugely in power or anything with the number of forms it has access to. You can do whatever's most fun for you, the player and the group.
People dump stats - particularly Charisma - down to 8 or 7 because the game rewards doing so. Period. The difference between a Charisma of 10 and a Charisma of 7 is almost impossible to notice, even in diplomacy-heavy games. You can ignore the game's rules and pretend that characters with a charisma of 7 are repulsive instead of almost imperceptably less charismatic than average, but that's lousy roleplaying, so I prefer not to do that and I prefer my players not to do that.
Trying to "counter" dumped charisma with ability damage is only useful if your players are bad at math or you're extremely heavy-handed about it (Oh man! It's another magical trap that does exactly seven charisma damage! What are the odds?)
The following things are just true:
- Charisma affects very little besides skills.
That's why people dump charisma to 7.
I do generally think that the quality of 3PP has gone up somewhat over time. It may be the case that increasing internet connectivity helps push better stuff to the fore or that better feedback is available or I don't know what else, but I feel like most of the 3PP I've seen for Pathfinder tends to be at least reasonable, while I remember 3.5 3PP as sort of a minefield of products that, while there were certainly gems in there, were largely a minefield of just really dubious stuff that often betrayed a deep ignorance about or apathy for how anything should work. Stuff that just felt like it was put together by a deeply enthusiastic person who - just incidentally - had maybe played 3.5 once, a few years ago, but was pretty sure they remembered how most of the stuff worked. I don't think 3PP developers should be beholden to not creating material that doesn't combine with some arcane combination of random stuff to break the game; even holding Wizards to that standard is kind of harsh, but I think it's reasonable to expect material to look like someone who has basic familiarity with how the rules work has looked at it ever. (In general, monster books were the most frequent offenders, I think; even though Wizards' monster design in 3.5 was just utter garbage, a lot of 3PP developers somehow managed to do worse.)
While the monk could probably use a little love in the hit-damage department, like everyone else I think that it can be a good class while still being nowhere close to the fighter or barbarian in that department. At this point, it really isn't though. It's vaguely competant defensively, and has really impressive saves. That's good. But it suffers more than any other class from the fact that PF does nothing to fix one of 3.5's biggest thematic bungles: TWF characters and monks, despite the sort of default image of them as being quick and mobile (especially monks), have a much greater delta between how good they are when they full attack and how good they are when they single attack than some barbarian with a two-hander. Monks wish that they were at their best rushing in to surgically eliminate high-priority targets. In fact, monks are at their best when they're able to stand still and whack on an immobile blob of tofu that won't move or mess them up, so they can get their full attack in. When it comes time to actually picking off those high-priority targets, casters and archers are usually dramaticaly better at that for obvious reasons, and if both the monk and the two-handed barbarian can both reach the target in question, the barbarian lays down a pretty healthy smack while the monk bops the thing like an oracle that didn't bother to buff up. And forget the monk entirely if the thing is flying. Hopefully the range increment on your tiny throwing weapons doesn't sink your attempts to go all the way with those.
Could the monk be good at skills? Sure, but it's, even if you're being super generous to the monk, clearly in the bottom six skill-wise. That's hardly a good defense of the monk. Defending the monk's position based in its skills is like defending the Oracle's position based on its fistfighting ability. It's not technically the very worst, but it's so much worse than so many classes.
Honestly, if I could have one thing for the monk, it wouldn't even be, like, the big dump of +hit and +damage it'd need to be competitive on that front. It'd be tools that allow the vanilla monk to do what people imagine it can do - use maneuvers well and act as a mobile assault guy. (I don't really think that being good at skills is something that's really important to the core idea of a monk; it's more something that people like to imagine the monk is decent at to try to justify its position. It's fine if monks remain pretty terrible at skills.)
A lot of people also just overreact to things that are objectively not any better than what "standard" classes can do just because they're different in ways they're not used to. If full casters weren't a thing and they introduced a class that could easily end encounter after encounter in a single roll, people would absolutely lose it, but wizards have been part of the game for long enough that people don't even bat an eye at that.
The other thing that makes people rage out at gunslingers is that they - along with bomber alchemists - are very resistant to just making encounters tougher, because pathfinder's math is stupid and touch AC doesn't scale right. (Even if touch AC wasn't originally intended to be something that got targeted with every attack, the fact that it starts scaling backwards at some point makes things pretty silly.) Bump up the CR of an encounter? Gunslinger don't care. In fact, if you've got a huge party and you're using harder monsters because of that, then the gunslinger IS going to be really powerful, because harder monsters aren't the same difficulty upgrade against gunslingers as they are against other classes. You have to specifically do things that nerf the gunslinger if you want to nerf the gunslinger.
Also forgive my ignorance but what is the issue with the Kyoketsu Shoge?
From another thread:
"I might have overlooked it, but last time I searched I didn't find a definitive answer to how any part of the Kyoketsu Shoge works whatsoever. You can sort of piece together something that vaguely makes some sort of sense, but the weapon is woefully underspecified. Going strictly by the table, the weapon is just an ordinary reach weapon that happens to have a throw increment. So far so good. But then the description itself kind of veers off into bizzare world, describing a bunch of things you can do with the weapon that don't map super clearly to the table, none of which have specified mechanical effects. The "swing the hoop" thing: is that supposed to be the "reach" part on the table? How come the hoop's bludgeoning damage isn't on the table? Can I make a full-attack of hoop swings? If I throw the dagger more than ten feet, what happens? Does the whole weapon go with it? If I throw it less than ten feet does the whole weapon go with it? When it says that the blade can be used as an off-hand weapon, what's going on with the rest of the weapon? Am I supposed to be using the hoop part as the main-hand weapon? The weapon is identified as a reach weapon on the table; does that mean that it's a reach weapon for all uses? The blade sounds too short for that to be what they were going for, but that's what the text says. If the whole thing isn't supposed to be a reach weapon, what about its grapple and disarm properties? Do those apply to all its forms of use?
The weapon is basically a poster child for the importance of spelling out what on earth you're thinking of mechanically instead of hoping that vague fluffish text will somehow get it across. As it is, the weapon is just a big pile of ambiguity. You can run it going strictly off of the table and end up with a weapon that's more or less a low-damage longspear with some assorted properties on it, but that doesn't really match most people's feelings about what the weapon should be doing. You can also work with a DM to try to codify what on earth they were trying to get at when they wrote the weapon and just mark some stuff down, but there's really no solid answers as far as I can find them."
And from a thread talking about UE while they were working on it:
"Equipment appears to be one of the most FAQ'd categories of rules, particularly weapons. I know space is probably tight, but please, please, please spell out anything that might concievably be ambiguious or non-obvious. Say which side of the double weapon is which, even if you think it's obvious. Unless you want the Kusarigama to be a weapon that can't be used to attack adjacent enemies, spell out what on earth is the deal with each side of the weapon. Spell out exactly what you can and cannot do with a hand wearing a fist-weapon style weapon. Things like that. Failure to specify things confuses Paizo's own writers - see the Net and Trident feat for an example. I know that the goal of the product may not be to clarify existing rules, but you can prevent future FAQ morasses by simply spelling out exactly what a weapon does. Don't be afraid to use technical language.
You should probably just take a page out of 4e's book and describe the ends of double weapons on separate lines, rather than jumbling everything into a single line and leaving players to wonder if all of the properties apply to both ends or what. Don't pull another Kyoketsu Shoge. If a weapon has multiple attack modes, spell those all out. Don't rely on inexact fluff text to try to communicate what the weapon does, do a formal write-up. It may be easy enough to figure out more or less what you're going for, but it's still annoying. The purpose of an equipment section should be to provide clear rules for playing a game, not to simply vaguely document the general existence of every weapon used by any culture ever."
It's extremely improbable that amazons would have looked anything like female bodybuilders. Bodybuilders are people who intentionally do specific exercises and consume a specific diet to build as much muscle mass as possible. It doesn't have a great deal to do with general fitness, which is what they would have actually been worried about. An amazon warrior probably would have just looked like any other athletically capable woman with a high level of fitness - like a female soldier or athlete. They also certainly would not have generally had more facial hair any other woman unless they were genetically predisposed to it or something; the hormonal imbalance required for a woman's facial hair to start growing in on her face isn't something that any amount of excercise is going to achieve. Would they have been all uniformly beautiful? Of course not. No culture is like that. Regardless of whose standards you're using, there'd probably be people across a band of levels of attractiveness, just like in any other culture. The notion that amazons would all be terrifying masculine she-brutes is every bit as much a weird male fantasy as the notion that they'd all be sultry babes.
I don't ban anything, but I discourage new/slow/inattentive/zoney players from playing anything that involves handling multiple creatures just for time concerns. If someone really wants to, they can, I just try to steer people in other directions. Similarly, if I feel like a player's build is really out of band power-level-wise then I urge them to play it down a little, but that rarely comes up.
I never ban things based on "this doesn't feel right in this setting". I'd much rather see what a pirate ship paladin looks like than enforce There Are No Paladins On Pirate Ships. Allowing a ninja character in the frigid northlands campaign doesn't mean that the frigid northlands are crawling with ninjas, it just means that it's at least concievable that at least one character with ninja-style abilities ended up there somehow. (And that sort of thing is nearly always concievable.)
Does anyone have sort of a ballpark figure regarding what portion of the book is new material? Are we talking like a quarter of it, or are we talking like a half-dozen things scattered here and there?
Also, I think I already know the answer to this, but did they at least put in the bare minimum possible cleanup effort and put in a better writeup how the kyoketsu shoge is supposed to function mechanically, or did they stick to the flighty ambiguious wording it was published with in Ultimate Combat?
Comparing max rolls is way less useful or informative than comparing average rolls, and no gunslinger is going to only have a 14 in Dex by level 5. Even ignoring other stuff and somewhat conservatively assuming only 16 Dex, you're starting out at
1d12 + 3 = 9.5 average damage.
And the gulf only grows wider and wider, and that's before you factor in Up Close and Deadly. Musket Masters get an extra feat because Muskets are, without the help from archetypes, worse weapons. It's a worse fighting style, so to help it compensate, they get Rapid Reload for free - a feat the weapon needs in order to be basically functional. It's possible that the stacking gun training is RAI, but if it is it makes Pistoleros just insane.
I really wasn't expecting, based on the discussion in that one long Ulitimate Equipment thread before release, for there to be the slightest bit of relief whatsoever for the monk. That there's anything at all that interacts with monks' unarmed strikes in a beneficial way whatsoever is actually a big big surprise to me. It's clearly their position that it's fine for monks to overpay and that mispriced items in the core books should forever set precedent for how much effects cost; they've stated the latter point explicitly. Anything that helps the monk isn't going to be just a properly priced AoMF.
You're hewing a tough row there. Summoner is an intensely powerful class, but one that really suffers from losing levels of itself. Inquisitor is on some level basically a martial class, and while the summoner does have medium BAB and HP and some okay spells for that, it's generally not contributing a huge deal there, especially if you don't intend to be riding your eidolon.
The first thing I would look into is whether you need inquisitor levels for your concept. There's nothing stopping a full summoner from being dedicated to fighting daemons and wearing a sweet commissar outfit and being dedicated to a deity and/or cause that fiercely hunts down daemons or even calling herself an "inquisitor". They can even be part of an inquisitor order. If there's specific inquisitor abilities you really feel are core to the character concept you can go deep enough for those, but the more you can keep the levels to one side or the other the better off you'll be.
The difference between a dumped charisma score and a nice charisma score is barely perceptible in play anyway. Even if you don't really like any of the (relatively small) number of ways to use another stat for Intimidate, simply by putting points into intimidate (something most characters don't do), you're going to be among the best intimidators in the party initially, and eventually be the best, unless there's a high cha character who's also putting points into intimidate. Stats aren't a very important factor in how good you are at skills, and they get less important as you level up. People tend to grossly overestimate the difference between an 8 and a 12. (The difference is "very small, so small that if you didn't tell anyone what number was written on the sheet, they probably couldn't tell based on the results of your rolls.")
Martial characters, which are more likely to be complicated tangles of multiclassing at different points, feats with all kinds of different prerequisites - BAB, Fighter Level, Feat Chains, etc. - get planned out in a lot of detail. The only exception is that I don't usually plot out every last skill point. (Although I do sometimes.) Casters, whose build you already know class-wise (Class 20) and whose feats are far less burdened with prerequistes on the whole, are sometimes are a little more up in the air, with typically a list of feats but not necessarily a schedule for them. I usually have a few spells/level picked out for spontaneous casters, but even when I do have all those slots filled, I end up tending to change that during the course of the adventure anyway.
I tend to plan to about level twelve; it's rare that by then that most of the interesting stuff isn't on a character, and I generally feel as though if there's vital stuff that's not on there by then then I'm probably trying to squeeze too much stuff onto there (or considering too much stuff "vital".) For stuff with nuttily high requirements like some of the critical feats, I will plan a little further out.
I usually start with the mechanics. I know that this sound sterile (well, maybe not to the people in this thread, but to many people), but some of my favorite characters I've ever played were people designed around a mechanical shell. Restrictions breed creativity in some regards, and I have a great time coming up with stories for why a character is mechanically the way they are - I'm a big fan of nonconventional mechanics/fluff pairings. I do have a sort of loose list of character traits and origins that I'm interested in, and I'll usually attach one or more of those to a character as well. I tend to think of characters personality-wise as sort of modular pieces that can be combined in different configuations up until the point where the character actually exists in a campaign. I have a difficult time nailing down personality too hard anyway, since I've learned from experience that it requires some actual playtime for most characters I build to develop into the personalities that they eventually end up with.
I also just find it easier to put together characters that way. When I do try to start from the fluff side, I'm usually so overwhelmed by the half-dozen or so reasonable ways to implement many concepts, especially martial concepts, that it's kind of a non-starter.
Some players area a lot easier to run horror for than others. There are some kinds of horror that just don't translate well to the tabletop; things jumping out at you or moving in the periphery of your vision are really scary in real life, but hard to convey in a truly menacing fashion verbally. The reason that some players are easier to run horror for than others is that, in my experience, a big part of horror is a feeling of helplessness or like there are no good options, but not all players are equally willing to submit to that kind of thing; some players are more interested in just plowing through everything, and not all players are willing to put up with what they see as you being unfair in the context of the game.
What that means is that job number one - more than finding any particular mystery to use or whatever - is ensuring that the potential players are actually interested in playing in a horror campaign. If they're not particularly interested in that, it's likely going to be pretty difficult to get them to play along with the style you're going for, especially if you're one of the younger members of the group. A sandboxy horror mystery is already a bit of a challenge for a new DM; players who are actually invested in the idea will help a ton.
As the number of feats in the game increases, always-nice-but-rarely-vital feats like toughness get harder and harder to fit into builds. When there's only one book with feats in it, a great many characters have space for toughness. Where there's lots of such books, things like toughness get squeezed out for stuff that's more interesting, powerful, unique, or transformative.
Scythes in art usually have their blades pointed like the farming tool because the "harvest scythe as badass weapon" thing is pretty deeply engrained in fantasy and fantasy, if not in history, especially in the sort of magepunky style that PF's art usually falls into. It's not particuarly historical, but that's not the direction that PF's art leans in whatsoever. (Nobody wants to see thirty pictures of Sir Drabgray the Historically Accurate in his Ye Olde Pragmatic Chainmaille.) They could draw a war scythe, but it'd just look like a generic polearm to most people instead of the sweet-scythe-as-fantasy-weapon.
Given what his domains are and what his portfolio is, he appears to the the Harbinger associated with technology. (Especially if "poisonous metals" is a fantasy way of referring to radioactivity, although there are other poisonous metals.) Given that the current assignment of inquisitions to deities is largely based on personality (and, uh, throwing darts at a sheet at random) at least as much as on portfolio, and any player playing a character that has anything to do with Cixyron is probably going to have to define his character anyway, you could probably go in most directions pretty safely.
If Cixyron is intelligent and a long-term planner, Tactics might be appropriate; if he's sort of an evil scientist type, Torture might be appropriate.
I'd only have the players get pickpocketed if I wanted a fight with pickpockets to break out or if I was using it as some kind of plot hook, or possibly to establish than an area was especially shady. Just randomly lifting coins from the PCs as a sort of environmental effect strikes me as kind of obnoxious DMing, plus it's something that most PC groups are NOT going to let go of if you do it, either out of a desire for revenge or out of the assumption that stuff like that doesn't happen for no reason.
Also, I'm thinking of doing away with class skills and letting players put ranks into whatever they want. I've never liked that fighters can't be diplomatic or rogues know about religion. I'm worried it might have some unintended consequences though.
That's basically how skills work in PF - everyone buys skills at a 1:1 ratio regardless of whether it's a class skill or not. Having a skill as a class skill just means that you get +3 to it if you have at least one rank in it. When you throw in traits, which can make things class skills, you really do get a situation where anyone can be good at anything. (Plus or minus a little for ability scores.)
I haven't tried it, but sorcerer is already a good class and it appears to blow sorcerer completely out of the water. I know it's easy to overreact to novelty, but I can't imagine ever choosing to play a sorcerer with the Magister available. You do lose some spells known - one per spell level - but get a crazy amount in return. Is it overpowered? You do have a very limited number of spells known, so maybe not, but it looks pretty stacked. (If it's the case that because there's no "magister spell list" then Magisters need to use UMD to use any wand/scroll, that pulls them back in line pretty far. If it's the case that EVERY spell is considered to be on their spell list, the reverse is true.)
Summon Monster wrote:
It appears where you designate and acts immediately, on your turn. It attacks your opponents to the best of its ability. If you can communicate with the creature, you can direct it not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or to perform other actions.
It's somewhat GM discretion what sort of actions you can instruct a summoned creature to perform if you can communicate with it. (If you can't communicate with it, it's clear that it just attacks your enemies to the best of its ability.) It's up to your DM whether scouting missions of various levels of complexity are within the scope of what a viper is capable of. Note that at the very least you need some kind of magical means to talk to the viper, since it has no languages of its own. Once you can summon elementals (Summon Monster II), you can communicate with those using normal language.
One thing that 4e did that I liked was it added another very meaningful dimension for weapons to differ along - some weapons essentially give you +1 to attack rolls with them. (It's actually +3 instead fo +2, due to how 4e handles proficiency.) This allows you to justify a much greater number of weapons without them being all either essentially the same or just better than each other. In general, the game gives sword-like weapons and crossbows an extra +1 to hit, but they do about one die size less damage, so there's basically a tradeoff. Yeah, you can still run the math and figure out which one is mathematically better (although it's tricky, since hits in 4e often carry secondary effects, such as small debuffs or repositioning effects), but it provides another "major" axis - the primary one being damage die size - along which weapons can vary. (There's also far more weapon-group-specific feat material, which also helps differentiate similar weapons.)
I actually think that the monk archetypes are, on the whole, the best designed archetypes in the game, without any legitimate competition for that title. They wobble around a bit in terms of power level, but they're amazing for actually enabling legitimately (mechanically) unique characters, rather than just replacing stuff that barely matters with other stuff that barely matters (many rogue archetypes), taking away stuff and giving you almost nothing in return (many druid archetypes), or just fake half-versions of normal class options (many oracle archetypes).
The flowing monk and the maneuver master both "revolve around using maneuvers", but only at a super zoomed-out level. The maneuver master is designed to be - and works out well as - a generic maneuver-centric monk. The Flowing Monk is designed as the judo-ish* reactive, use-their-strength-against-them guy. I'm pretty sure you could tell them apart a lot faster than you could tell most random rogue archetypes apart.
*I think; I don't really know that much about martial arts.
I do agree that the various Stunning Fist-style abilities seem to have been assigned almost at random, though. It's cool that there's a way for monks to get them at first level if they want to, but they're often tied to otherwise unrelated archetypes. Touch of Serenity in Monk of the Lotus makes sense; Punishing Kick in Hungry Ghost Monk and Elemental Fist in Monk of the Four Winds are essentially arbitrary.
One handed weapons are in a slightly awkward place in Pathfinder; most (obviously there are wide categories of exceptions) characters that want to fight without a shield and aren't using Dervish Dance or something will tend towards a two-handed weapon. Many TWF characters will tend towards just using the same weapon in both hands to save on feats, which means using two light weapons if you don't want to eat penalties everywhere. (Also many players like the visual of using paired weapons.) That mostly leaves weapon/shield users - but not most clerics and most oracles, who aren't profiecient, and many fighters, who might prefer to use a close weapon so that their highest weapon training group bonus can apply to both weapons and shields. Once things are narrowed down to classes that are naturally proficient in martial weapons and builds where a one-handed weapon makes sense, I'd say that longswords are easily the most common weapon I see players use.
Every bloodline has a bunch of dubious feats. You only really care that the bloodline has two decent feats, and then you're good. (Okay, three, if your campaign is going to level 19, but having to take a sort of less useful feat at level 19 isn't really a breaker.) Stormborn sorcerers can take Dodge and Great Fortitude even if they don't want -any- of the other stuff, so they're fine. (If you have any ray spells, you probably want some of the other stuff.) You don't have to take the archery stuff at all if you don't want to.
Generally, if it's something that you can produce with the rules and it's something that concievably has a home in a fantasy world, I'll make it work. I generally hew to these precepts:
- It's probably more important to the campaign that a player be able to play what they want than it is that my world is a place with ZERO ELF ALCHEMISTS.
If a player wanted to play a character that was from Ersatz Russia and I was otherwise okay with the character, the world now has an Ersatz Russia. Creating an Ersatz Russia location might take all of a few minutes. I'm pretty sure I can handle that. Heck, the player can mostly decide what sort of place Koroberskya is, since "Mendev the Spy is from there" is probably the country's primary role in the campaign to begin with.
I'm less warm on homebrewing things for characters, and where I'm willing to do it, I'd prefer to tweak existing material rather than come up with new stuff whole cloth. There are -four- cold-themed sorcerer bloodlines, three of which have wildblooded varients. If a player doesn't like -any- of those, I'd rather start with whichever one is closest and tweak a few things.
20/20/20 happens one in 8000 rolls;
Assuming that, I dunno, 25 attack rolls happen each combat (obviously this varies a lot with level and character composition), and four combats happen each game session, and you game once a week with a few holiday breaks, you'd expect to see only one such roll every few years. (25 attacks/combat may be a bit on the low side, but that'll vary a lot anyway.) So it's definitely a story-maker, I guess. Note that extreme attack numbers and crit ranges can drive things way up; a character using two keen kukris and making 7 attacks on a full attack actually has about a 1-in-200 chance of triggering 20/20/15+ every time they full attack, so they alone, if they full attack 10 times a night, will trigger the deathblow a few times each year (on average) on their own.
In my experience, you usually have to shoot lower than you think for riddles, especially if you're combining a bunch of challenges into a single riddle (such as "figure out what the riddle is, figure out the answer, figure out the input modality"). Even if I were to use a riddle that required what's essentially an unguessable bit of math trivia, wrapping it in additional layers of obscurity seems to me like the kind of thing players will just never get without substantial hints.
I know it's lame and simple, but I like scrambled word puzzles. They're quick to make, require no specific real-world knowledge, can be worked as a group, and can deliver short messages fairly well. They're also typically solvable in a predictable-ish span of time, meaning that you don't end up with players spending half of the play session trying to figure out an impossible riddle.
One long-term puzzle I did once was to occassionally provide players with short snippets of text written in a "lost language". It was just a substition cipher, but it took the players until they had about fifteen little snippets to decode the language. (Which allowed them to decode an extensive nonsense word which was an elemental's true name.)
As a DM I'd call that kind of on the bubble, and I don't know that I'd do that to my players. (As the person who's the final word on what counts as what when it comes to mind-affecting spells, I tend to keep NPC uses of the spells to things that are clearly acceptable.) The thing is, in any even remotely dangerous situation, there are Suggestions that can be made that are vaguely reasonable-sounding, but that are also, with meta-knowledge, highly likely to result in a PC getting creamed. Particularly in a three-person party like you describe in an encounter that's already somewhat challenging, removing a combatant from the fight makes the encounter dramatically more difficult.
Honestly, I think it depends on how powerful of a combat spell you want Suggestion to be. It's not like taking someone out of a fight for an extended period of time is totally unprecedented for a level 3 spell, but it makes Suggestion pretty powerful, especially for enemies. (PCs are rarely immune to mind-affecting or language-dependant abilities.)
That said, if you look at other level 3 spells that remove a character from combat, they tend to last for rounds/level or are reversable by mundane means. While spells are allowed to be better or worse than other spells, I'd generally only allow Suggestion to be usable to remove a creature from combat entirely in circumstances where that's a -very- reasonable course of action.
Note that that doesn't make Suggestion a worthless spell for combat; I'd still allow it to be used to manipulate enemy tactics, for example. ("Why aren't you attacking that guy instead?") This is on top of its extremely versitile out-of-combat use, which comparable spells (such as Deep Slumber) don't quite have to the same degree.
I realize that this is justification based more on metagame reasoning about spell power than on pedantic "the dictionary says X means Y" reasoning, but there really are a wide range of things that the spell description might legitimately mean, so I'd choose to go with a line that places the spell in a reasonable context within the game.
"Dungeon Denizens Revisited" contains several pages worth of Shambling Mound lore, but there's not much about anything like that. It does say that they on rare occassions coorperate with other intelligent creatures who can communicate with plants, and that they're sometimes venerated by intelligent creatures such as Lizardfolk, but that's about it. There's also a demon and a druid mentioned that each have large number of shambling mounds working for them.
How married are you to playing a human? If you're a Half-Elf, you lose the generic human feat but gain EWP (ADS) instead, putting you actually closer to your goal. Otherwise, as a human, I'd probably just go for Lingering Performance. I know that it's something for supporting your buffs, but it goes a really long way in keeping your buffs up for the entire day.
You can also weasel in with Sandman 5/Rogue 1, but I don't know if there's any good reason to do so. You'll be able to get away with only having lost a single caster level, and you'll have a slightly higher BAB. I'm pretty sure that that's still not worth it, but it's kind of another flavor. Bards don't get damaging cantrips, so unless you pick those up somehow you're out that option.
Making cross-species comparisons that make everything look like nonsense is unnecessary, because they game rules already tell us how much less charismatic a Cha 7 guy is compared to a Cha 10 guy: almost imperceptibly less charismatic. If Cha 7 means that random farmers will kill you for no other reason, Cha 10 means that random farmers will usually kill you for no other reason. Life must be tough for Dwarves in that world, since any dwarf with even slightly below-averge Charisma for their race can't go anywhere without getting jumped by farmers.
Fun fact: Golarion's agriculture is purely crop-based, as its farmers can't control their murderous hatred of uncharismatic, uncharismatic livestock well enough to properly husband them.
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Doy. Mashed-together sentences like that are what I get for trying to sneak in posts at work. Thanks for the catch.
Few quick questions -
This isn't what you asked about, but I'd be cautious about an arcanist/monk even-split multiclass. If you go sorcerer, you won't get level 2 spells until level 8, when full sorcerers are getting level 4 spells, and any offensive spells you cast are going to be fairly easy to save against, since you're down four caster levels. On the monk side, at level 8 your BAB will only be +5 (+6 when you can flurry.) You'll be flurrying at +4/+4 when a full monk would be flurrying at +6/+6/+1/+1 - in other words, you're doing about half as much damage as a similarly-built full monk would. The longer the campaign lasts, the more relatively useless your casting and melee abilities with both be. I would go as heavy as possible in one direction or the other.
I've always considered the "maximizing effectiveness in one area (typically combat), even at the cost of ability in other areas" to be the definition of "minmaxing", but I've heard the "minimizing weaknesses" definition thrown out a significant number of times as well. I think that the former is a more useful definition; otherwise minmaxing is just "optimization" or "building a mechanically powerful character" or "maxing".
My Bard character and my Sorcerer character disagree that Charisma sucks.
If a class gives you other reasons to care about Charisma, then naturally it's a valuable stat. The crux of the thread (at this point) is that barring special class features Charisma doesn't do much besides affect skills, and attribute points are a very inefficient way to improve your skills.
The musket portion of the musket axe functions as a musket, and the axe portion functions as a battleaxe. The channel ability is sufficient for channel smite, as stated by James Jacobs, and my DM. Worshipers of any god unopposed to nature can select the terrain domains. Cixyron is not opposed to nature, proof within the listed earth domain.
He has the earth domain because he's the Daemonic Harbinger of (dangerous) technology, which includes poisonous and radioactive metals. (Similar to how Brigh has the Earth domain despite being the goddess of artifice, and Abadar does as well despite being on not-so-great terms with nature.) Obviously whatever flies in your home game works, but there are probably few cleric-empowering beings -less- in tune with nature than Cixyron. (Also, the rules say "Other nature-themed classes with access to domains...", not "deities not opposed to nature".) Again, whatever works in your home game works, but if Cixyron is nature-themed, then nobody isn't.
You can certainly justify their status as distinct skills, but it's also easy to justify combining them. There's nothing particularly sacred about the number or distibution of skills in pathfinder. You could split "knowing about magic stuff" into five skills if you really wanted to, which would make it hard to know a lot about every kind of magic stuff. You could split it into two skills, like it is (kind of sloppily as a result of legacy issues) divided now. You could make it just one skill. You could nix just spellcraft and parcel out its remains to various knowledge and craft skills, or maybe UMD. If it had always been the case that Know (Arcana) covered most of spellcraft and various other skills covered the rest, I don't think anyone would look at Know (Arcana) and say, "This covers too much stuff that's too different. Let's bust out most of the spell identification and copying parts, make those a separate skill, then pad that skill out by letting it double as a crafting skill."
Noir le Lotus wrote:
Really? Blowing a feat, blowing one of your few level 1 spells/day, and changing it - a close range spell - into a full-round action to get +1 on the save DC of Daze? That's so inferior to Spell Focus that it hurts. That's so inferior to any reasonable plan of action it hurts. If you want your fighter to be able to attack without getting hit, you should be using your level 1 spell slots on GOOD control spells, not horrible ones metamagicked to be arguably more horible.
I agree that differences in point buy are pretty overblown. If you sat me down at a table and had me watch a game, I don't think there's any amount of observation that would let me figure out what point buy the group was using unless I actually checked someone's sheet. I wouldn't say it makes no difference, but its effect on party power is a pretty small jostle compared to things like party synergy, player skill and experience, optimization level, treasure quality, class/build power, splat access, etc. If I had to throw out a number, I'd say that an extra five points in a point buy is worth a bit under +1 CR, if even that - in other words, I wouldn't use a 25 pt buy if it's already the case that your players tend to not struggle very much, but it won't break the game. It can't break the game.
A related claim that drives me crazy is the notion that higher point buys make games more cinematic/epic/gonzo/crazy/heroic/high/etc., and lower point buys make games more brutal/gritty/grim/desparate/salty/low/etc. Point buy is all but completely unrelated to game tone.
Name Violation wrote:
It now works, per this FAQ.
Eh, the aging penalties and bonuses are a stupid legacy thing (and an example of pompy LSM attempts at "realism" being clumsily injected without respecting how the game actually works) and not really a great way to judge what anything is or means. The most commonly cited example of the aging effects being a total farce is that Perception (formerly Spot and Listen) actually IMPROVES as you get super old.
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
I actually genuinely don't hate the idea of literally doubling or even tripling ability score penalties to charisma-based skill checks to better simulate the sort of deficiencies that people independently assume charisma penalties represent. (As opposed to what they actually represent, which is an almost imperceptible difference in charisma.) So, for example, someone with Cha 8 would get -3 to charisma-based skill checks before adding in skill ranks, and someone with Cha 5 would get -9. That would synch the mechanics up much better with the effects that people defending the decision to not dump charisma because you want it for social stuff imagine it has - a person with a 7, and thus -6 to skill checks is ACTUALLY going to be making a bad impression everywhere he goes compared to a guy with 10, whereas under the current rules it's not the case. (The -2 the rules currently impose is simply too small to make a perceptible difference.)
I think that the tripled penalties is an appropriate magnitude of effect to actually make not dumping of Charisma a fairly balanced choice for characters that don't need it for anything except for skills. It's now a real flaw, instead of a penalty way too minor proportional to how much you get for doing it.
For system elegance purposes, it probably makes sense to apply the same system to every score; for example, a Wizard with 8 Str will now take a -3 to Strength-based skill checks, rather than a -1.
Note that I don't think that this is the same as essentially banning dumping stats; I think it just makes it an actual choice instead of something you only avoid if you have a special distaste for it or don't understand the system math very well. (Doubling instead of tripling the penalties would represent a middle ground.)