Agree with both Cevah and Bruunwald. I've frequently GM'd 1 or 2 player gaming in the past. Usually I adjust the encounters for the smaller party but I've also had npc's join the party and usually would allow the player(s) to run them with the clear understanding that I have the final say in what they will and will not say and do. I also think Bruunwald has excellent advice in his last paragraph about how to keep the PCs front and center. Last it is not an entirely bad thing if the players learn to identify with the npcs for many of the same reasons you want the players to invest in their own characters. They'll be more prone to treating them like true companions and allies rather than stat blocks who help which is a definite plus.
:) Nice catch.
No idea, I'd guess Juvenile since then it's gaining and upgrading the ability till it maxes at 120ft in an every other level pattern.
On the other hand I'd give it the ability based on the needs of my encounter and how much of a challenge I needed to present to my characters. And any variation from the "norm" I'd chalk up to the normal variation in maturation that occurs in creatures that 'age'.
My Living City character made level 23 in his last adventure, so played through level 22 (and earned level 23). He started as an AD&D 2E character, was switched over to 3.0/3.5E and continued until the LC campaign ended.
In a home campaign I ran a Wizard/Loremaster/Archmage thru 27th. I joined at 6th level the others had started from level 1.
Was the GM for 6 players where the campaign ended with them at 30th. 5 of them started at 1st level, the 6th joined at 21st. Took about 3 years playing about once weekly for them to go from 1st to 30th.
I pretty much assume unless stated otherwise that my characters will play through 20th and beyond. Likewise I generally run campaigns on the assumption it'll go to 20th+ ... many don't as we get sidetracked by life or other things.
I was the DM for several characters in 2E that ran up into the low to midteens from 1st level.
Cheech and Chong meet Shrink Item?
More seriously (slightly anyway) A bunch of very smokey fires + (multiple) Shrink Item spells +/- Gust of Wind (or Control Winds) as needed might at the very least smoke (breathing) creatures out of fortified areas or select portions of the overall dungeon depending on size and layout (and aided by Knowledge Dungeoneering or Engineering).
Some thoughts and questions in no particular order:
What are his other typically memorized spells?
Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
Yes I followed all that about actions (though I did initially forget about the rule Immediate = Swift for turn)). But as I also said I'd have no problem overruling it to allow a character to use an Immediate action to cast Feather Fall when they've already used a Swift and Standard. Perhaps more accurately I'd let them cast Feather Fall and not even worry about what sort of action it was other than "Grandfather clause: Really Speedy Action meant for using Feather Fall". Then again it's fairly unlikely the situation would come up ... characters of a level capable of such feats tend to already be using some means to Fly (Overland Flight in particular) or could simply handle the issue in some other way (Slow Fall, high Acrobatics etc.). I also tend to have alarm bells go off and red flags run up anytime I see the words never or always in a game where physics and reality bending magic is the norm.
This and related questions seem to come up fairly often. This is a list I've been compiling of some of the ways communication via spells can occur over distance (from 10's of feet to infinite.).
- Telepathic Bond, can be made permanent between two (or more) individuals. Fairly expensive to use as a permanent solution.
Please feel free to add to the list.
The problem here in terms of risk to the PC is not that the monsters don't fumble but that an individual monster only fights one fight then his career is over (whether he fumbles or not). Even a recurring villain is going to fight far fewer fights than the PC's he is facing. A PC fights how many over the course of his career? Eventually a fumble is likely to catch up with the character as he plays a variant of Russian Roulette over the course of 20 or more levels. For some this can be fun, for others not so much. I'm in the informed consent group >>> If the Players are cool with it and it adds fun for them then go for it. As a player I'm personally pretty meh about it.
This, it has always been a variant home brew rule. I believe the DMG did at one point have some 'side bar' type boxed entries which discussed such rules and why they generally made it more random and hazardous for the PC's. But that was about as close as it ever got to being actually part of the rules even optionally far as I can recall.
I have an alchemist and am constantly using vials for my mutagens, extracts, and bombs. My DM had me buy vials to use for these and I track the number remaining after each session. If you just drink a liquid from a vial, as opposed to throwing one, can you reuse it?
Just be sure to rinse well. Don't want traces of the poison in the vial doing anything unfortunate :p
Reincarnation is a druid spell of level 4, but it has it's risks. Delicious, delicious risks. Of course the modern reincarnation table has no entry for "badger" which makes me sad. Still, it only requires a bit of the person's body. So, if you can find some blood spatter you should be good to go.
Yep that's the real issue here, you need a way around needing a bit of the body even if it's only a drop or two of blood or a trace of dust/ash. Every spell except the 3 I mentioned require a bit of the creature to be brought back to life (and most lower level spells require a good bit more or the creature may come back missing parts, if it works at all).
Reincarnation is probably the best spell as it combines minimal requirements on what you need for remains and the lowest spell level (4th) of the "bring you back to life" sort.
I believe we are in agreement, the actions used 'to cast' determine how many spells one can cast during your turn. And typically (or 'normally') that number is 1.
Now this isn't PF but in the Epic rules for 3.0/3.5 casting more than 2 spells in a round was definitely possible ... my own wizard did it often via the Multispell feat:
from d20srd wrote:
To be truly accurate the type of action used to cast a spell varies. Usually it's a standard action, sometimes it's a full round action, sometimes it's multiple full round actions. And there's the relatively rare swift and immediate action spells as well. And that's without considering the effects of Metamagic on casting times. I would think that using those various action types would be enough to resolve "how many" spells you can cast just as much as it resolves how many attacks you can make, how far you can run in a round or any other activity a character might engage in over the course of a turn.
@Lifat, note the casting time of Contigency is at minimum a 10 minute process ... triggering the effect of Contingency requires no action I believe despite the somewhat unclear wording here ->
the latter being “cast” instantaneously when the prescribed circumstances occuras that more or less contradicts the earlier part of the description
The contingency spell and the companion spell are cast at the same time.
but clearly that's just my interpretation of RAI as the companion spell is triggered 'whenever' and often that occurs outside the casters turn and or under circumstances when the caster quite clearly can not cast spells (i.e they are dead, feebleminded, insane etc.).
Edit: to clean up the last sentence a bit.
Never 3 seems unlikely to hold up ... either that or pray you have never used a Quickened Spell plus normal spell (standard action) and suddenly find yourself needing to cast, for example, Feather Fall. If this was a hard fast rule (only 2 max per round) it would hit homerules variation for me right about then.
No expert on all the various non-CRB resources (particularly 3rd party stuff for PF) but I'm going to say you need a 9th level spell if you literally have no body not even disintegrated dust for example as you likely need True Resurrection, Wish or Miracle and a lot of personal knowledge of the subject. Almost any other spell or combination is going to need a tiny bit of the 'someone' to target as part of the casting.
The Morphling wrote:
Kind of. I forget the exact rules, but I think it was something like you get +1 BAB for every level after 20, to prevent there being absolutely silly gaps in BAB between wizards and fighters, etc. Saves increased similarly.
Both increase by +1 every other level, Epic Attack bonus on the odd levels and Epic Save bonus on the even levels. Iterative attacks cap at 4 and are based off your BAB for the first 20 class levels, so get to BAB=16+ if you want 4 attacks per round (i.e your Epic Attack bonus is not considered for purposes of iterative attacks).
There is also the feat "Epic Prowess" which grants a +1 bonus to attacks, can be taken multiple times and its effects stack.
The rules for Creation of Epic Spells is where I would caution strongly for a great deal of GM oversight and player responsibility to maintain balance and fun for the campaign. Stuff can get really broken/out of whack via these rules if not carefully used. The damage, for example, of the spell mentioned above (Vengeful Gaze of God) can pretty much be altered to do whatever amount you wish as long as the caster can successfully create that version of the spell.
Some of my favorites:
Are combat maneuvers even still viable at this level? I feel like a lot of the monsters you would be facing would be immune to most of the combat maneuvers you throw at them in one way or another. Tripping is mostly gonna suck as most monsters have more than 2 legs/no legs/fly, while combat sundering and disarming seem pointless at a level where most creatures are spellcasting/built in natural attacks.
Given the number of already created premade creatures that exist for play at that level (a number only slightly greater than "0") ... I'm going to hazard to guess your GM is going to be creating most of them from the ground up. But yes I would expect a lot of difficulty in using Combat Maneuvers successfully, particularly grappling and tripping. And Sundering and Disarm maneuvers are probably rather dependent on what sort of foes your GM invents (more or less humanoid medium-sized weapon users vs pretty much anything else).
The biggest obstacle in my experience to Grapple is Freedom of Movement. I'd expect any 50th level build to have this ability full time one way or another as it totally neuters any grappling vs the character while it is in effect. Obviously any ability that suppresses FoM (such as a Tetori Monk's ability or Antimagic Fields) potentially brings that risk right back. There are some feats in the Complete Warrior (3.5E material) that are very useful for making one less dependent on FoM to avoid/counter Grapple Maneuvers. Fortunately most 'monstrous' creatures do not inherently have Freedom of Movement.
Yeah the questions are a a bit rhetorical.
Multiple Liches, rare yes and hence unexpected. Unexpected is usually not a good thing for the characters when they are the victims of it is it? :)
As to a Pit Fiend or Maralith, *shrug* don't know ... why would a dragon? They (dragons) are also pretty typically near immortal if not immortal. Maybe the Pit Fiend wants to avoid ever getting slain/banished on the material plane always returning to his phylactery instead. Maybe she's (our Maralith) the now very pissed off victim of a Balor Lord's experiments ...
Bit of a tangent:
Why is almost always a single Lich plus maybe a horde of minions?
One of these days my players will run into a 20th level Ranger who's a Lich ... spell caster yes, cast at the party not likely, attack as a 20th level Ranger from HiPS with Master Hunter with Favored Enemy bonuses, hello!
This about a thousand times over.How often is your solo flyer going to be going one on one because the rest of the party is inside an extradimensional space during an Aerial encounter meant for the entire party? That scenario doesn't have to play out too often to drive home the disadvantage of effectively neutralizing more than half the party for your foes.
Everything said about Teleport also applies to Scrying magic. It's not automatic, involves Will saves and other details that should not be glossed over for reasons of travel anymore than you would when used for parties attempting Scry and Fry tactics. Magical sensors tend to get noticed eventually and draw attention. Never mind all sorts of campaign and roleplaying details such as spying on folks is generally considered rude and possibly illegal. Just because the party is using the commoner bartender to get a look at the area for teleporting doesn't mean the considerably more powerful wizard (and his companions) sitting in the tavern don't notice the sensor and, shall we say, "take offense" or that the party arrives and finds the town guard trying to place them under arrest for 'unlawful teleportation with intent to evade taxation' ... you did mean to go back and pay the 2cp at the gate right?. The sensor doesn't come with an "I'm only noticeable by the bartender and being used for aiding in harmless travel" clause.
"from the CRB wrote:
A creature can notice the sensor by making a Perception check with a DC 20 + the spell level. The sensor can be dispelled as if it were an active spell.
Of course none of this really addresses the thread creators OP. But these (plus other reasons elaborated in the thread) are some of the reasons a high level party might decide to travel overland by more mundane means vs by rapid magic or to provide a framework for what happens when and where the party does 'drop out of hyperspace' to rest, answer natures call or camp overnight while in route to the site of the 'real' adventure. Just like if walking, magically enhanced travel can be just as readily glossed over or role played out in intense detail as the DM decides while getting to wherever the meat of the adventure plays out, just don't forget that even magical travel has many of its own nitty gritty details as riding the warhorses there does. Written adventures can't cover it all so they provide the most basic framework and leave the rest to be decided by the DM unless its somehow pertinent to the adventure.
If you feel the Area is too large for a single Illusion then use Seeming (or Veil) if your Lich is an arcane caster. Some (most) Illusions, however, do cover enormous areas and are shapeable as well. For example, Screen, I can not imagine the chapel exceeds this area particular since it is a Shapeable spell given the minimum caster level of a Lich able to use the spell (i.e. 405 (27 10ft cubes per level) cubes measuring 10x10x10ft laid out how you like them). Even as Ipslore has mentioned Silent Image is a rather large area when you get to lay out the 15+ 10ft cubes in almost any contiguous fashion you wish (a largish 'U' shape comes to mind).
(S) Shapeable: If an area or effect entry ends with “(S),” you can shape the spell. A shaped effect or area can have no dimension smaller than 10 feet. Many effects or areas are given as cubes to make it easy to model irregular shapes. Three-dimensional volumes are most often needed to define aerial or underwater effects and areas.
That said what level or CR are you wanting for this encounter? What is the APL of the party and are they particular well equipped for dealing with undead or illusions? More details will give you better and more appropriate answers.
As for a stone slab trapping the party in the chapel, as several have said, it shouldn't be a significant barrier to a party able to deal with a Lich. Then again it isn't meant to capture and kill the party all by its lonesome either is it. It's meant to prevent rapid egress from the area by physical means while dealing with a higher level spell caster whose opening move might very well be casting Dimensional Lock or Dimensional Anchor -> Are you going to flee leaving a party member solo with the Lich or use your only Disintegrate on the barrier and not the Lich, etc., etc.. It's a rather classic and solid use of a trap plus foe in combination to up the overall difficulty of the encounter.
And as Wraithstrike has indicated players/characters rarely do as expected so it's all and well to script it out but be prepared to abandon or alter the script at moments notice.
I have yet to see a character who is optimized at "everything". Have fun and look to be effective in combat while remaining "optimized" in your chosen area. Even an optimized combat oriented character is not optimized for any and all types of combat, hence 'archer' vs 'trip/CMB specialist' vs 'TWF' vs etc..
First when doing any buffing (or healing/curing) outside of combat they can voluntarily lower their SR as a standard action (bolded part below).
"from the CRB wrote:
The terms “object” and “harmless” mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws. A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily lower the resistance (a standard action) in order to be affected by such spells without forcing the caster to make a caster level check.
I'm not sure if it indicates one way or another (in the rules or in a FAQ) when their SR returns to 'normal'. I think the assumption, in general, is it returns automatically a round later so the creature ends up using a standard action each turn if it needs to, but ... And it also doesn't clarify when the SR actually needs to be down for a spell such as Restoration whose casting time greater than 1 round. Does it need to be the entire 3 rounds (i.e. the casting time) or only when the saving throw is called for (the later being, again, what I believe is generally accepted line of thought)?
Second since this is home brew campaign a spell (or spells) could be researched and/or created for the campaign which bypass/lower a creatures SR. Doesn't even have to be the players who do so. Finding, capturing or otherwise gaining access to the spell/spellbook could be an adventure all its own.
Edit: Oops forgot to close the 'quote'
Hmm, not finding Dwoemer's Essence on the PRD or the d20PFSRD sites. Where is that from?
Might be a silly question but did you spell it as above, Dwoemer vs Dweomor? (Or is the typo merely in this post?)
Edit: I'm finding it here:
I'm with the minimalist group here. Buy the minimum of 1 each including a nice d%, then buy a nice large dice bag that will hold a bunch more dice that he will (inevitably) collect when he gets hooked on his choice for favorite game(s). If I were to add a few more it would be of the d4, d6 and d8 varieties and perhaps a couple extra differently colored d10's for iterative attacks.
Totally agree with Matthew above, anything beyond the first is needed more for keeping fellow players from strangling you while you slowly roll single dice and add than is needed for actual playing.
Here's how I'd handle it.
Did the Fey need to move to leave his hiding spot. Assuming he's merely standing there "hiding in plain sight" and waiting to be noticed then ...
As part of the surprise round he can use Long Step to move next to a PC/his target(s)
If he has to use a move action to leave hiding then he cannot also use Long Step during the surprise round (a creature gets either a Move or a Standard during surprise). I'd suggest he says something (Free Action) which should break his HiPS/Stealth while leaving his Move Action for Long Step --> "Hello (uses Long Step) from the BBEG".
Decide at what distance the Fey wishes to start this off. Make perception checks for all the PC's based on this distance. The ones who are successful get to act during the surprise round which starts when our Fey says 'Hello' (He'll say 'Hello' immediately as the first, if any, PC notes his presence). The only real issue here is if the party is using a very perceptive scout in advance of the party. That will complicate things a bit.
If after using Long Step during the surprise round the Fey is still functional (any PCs that did act during the surprise round haven't incapacitated the Fey) he may use a Standard Action (or Full Round Action) to attack any flat footed opponent he threatens with Sneak during his first full round of actions.
Since he used his Standard (or Full) during the first round of combat to attack he cannot also use Vanish (unless it's a Swift Action for him to do so). He could however take a 'melodramatic' 5 step away from the target PC or even just plain back away as a Move Action (provided he didn't Full Attack) hoping the target PC can't attack him while flat footed while he moves away out of any threatened space (PC has Combat Reflexes or similar).
That's more or less how I'd do it as I understand your desire to stage the encounter and without assuming any abilities you haven't mentioned.
Probably, Paizo simply wanted an effect of this type for arcane casters, and didn't want it to be anywhere near as good as similar effects for divine casters.
This is a very old spell (one of Mordenkainen's). It could probably use a look or two like a number of very old and higher level spells to both clarify and enhance its usefulness. The damage as I recall hasn't changed (much?) since its original writing ... the game has by quite a bit. In particular consider a typical wizards health vs the dps of the Sword then and now (i.e the Sword, back in the day of its creation, was more than capable of slaying a 14th level Wizard in 3 rounds, by comparison today it might need all those 13+ rounds to kill them). The choices for 7th level wiz/sor spells since then have also grown enormously. It wasn't awesome sauce back then but pretty much every offensive spell added to the arsenal since then has effectively moved it further down the list.
"Drop your weapons and you will be spared!"
"And then what, you take us back and we gets axed by Lord So And So anyway?"
In other words it's an opportunity to role play it out a bit. So no I'm not going to typically use the dice as a sole means of deciding the outcome though I'm not going to ignore whatever the diplomacy (or bluff) the character making the offer has either. What's the motivation for the foes? Are they intelligent humanoids? Starving bandits under a tyrannical ruler? Soldiers of a opposing and warring state? Or are they merely a vicious gang of murderers and cutthroats? Do they think the character(s) meant it (sense motive) when they offered surrender or merely buying time to get around behind them etc.? What are the other party members doing? Are they pausing to see a response or continuing to slaughter? What would you do if you were one of the foes? What happened to the last 3 guys to report failure back to the BBEG (That's a chance to let the party see some of the BBEG personality)?
And I'd start thinking ahead about what the local authorities are going to do if the party does show up with a dozen orcs in chains.
A number of solutions are presented above, the best of which long term is probably related to Telepathic Bond (note the range/distance over which even it can be used is within the plane, it will not cross interplanar distances).
But it also points to the fairly significant gap in the capability of spells to provide a decent solution (particularly around the character level range of the OP). Since this sounds like a home brew campaign the very best long term solution might well be researching and creating a spell expressly for this purpose.
Other spells/spell combo's that might help depending on the circumstances:
It's a not unusual question and seems to most commonly crop up around the OP's level.
I'd scout and gather intel more thoroughly, learn to retreat sooner and play more defensively in general.
My Wizard/Loremaster/Archmage was part of a group, usually of 3, with no divine/healing magic. He went strongly into UMD to use items. Often used divination magic (Arcane Eye, Prying Eyes) in conjunction with the groups Rogue when he went scouting (which helped keep the Rogue from getting whacked solo). He had/developed strong Fort and Will saves (as those tend to be the save or be screwed variety). The high Fort save was in part due to a high Con (it sat at around 24 or so at 20th) also resulted in high hp for a wizard. He used wands of Greater Invisibility, Blur and Displacement to help insure he (and companions) could be frequently buffed by said spells without draining his own daily spell slots as much. In later levels he liked Limited Wish, in particular, as a means to use divine curative/restorative spells.
Yep that's the table/rules. Overstretched my "This" as I meant only to refer to the "pre-3.0" part of Apraham's post. Those rules plus things I vaguely recall where you needed things like Meteorite or Adamantine to actually create a +'X' weapon all play a part in getting the present set of DR rules.
Errrm, why would anyone else besides the caster being making a check vs Disguise?
1) The check is involved only when attempting to mimic a specific individual.
2) Multiple checks should only come up if, for example, the caster's party is attempting to pass themselves off as a rival group of specific individuals. Yes more checks are made at +10, but all of them are going to be by the caster of the Veil spell. None of them are made by the targets of the Veil spell so far as I can read. It all references "you".
3) Yes that brings a rather odd state of affairs where the party's skill monkey in Disguise may be worse off having the not so Disguise skilled wizard (typically) using Veil on him.
While strictly speaking (RAW) I believe you are correct in stacking the +8's I'm thinking this isn't intended ... probably it's just attaching a type to Scent's already existing bonus (RAI). Unless, of course, it's viewed as an additional bonus on top of Scent's as it comes from a canine whose reputation is for an unusually good sense of smell even within the canine community. *shrug* Just throwing that out there.
Personally I view the Scent rules (and the various +/- to the DC) as mostly a starting point to aid the GM in running creatures and the occasional time a PC happens to have the ability, not for dealing with characters who have the ability near full time. Just like if I were to have a highly stealthy character with HiPS/Ring of Invisibility etc. in my group I'd be adding to and further developing the existing Stealth rules (and standard ways of handling Stealth, i.e taking 10, what's assumed to be going on as the party moves about etc.) to handle the situation in my own campaign I'd be doing the same for Scent and odor based situations.
Again I think blahpers and thenobledrake have pretty much hit the nail on the head. It is deliberately vague to allow each GM to decide what it means for his campaign.
For me a non permanent spell effect is probably not going to fall under 'local conditions'. But that's just me. A couple of examples that I would consider as examples of 'local conditions':
The Underdark has regions which disallow teleportation magic over greater distances (at least the Underdark of Faerun and probably Oerth where the original "Descent into the Depths" series was placed).
Within a few hundred miles of the center of the Plane of Concordant Opposition (specifically thinking of the Planescape setting), but likely not within a 100 miles (as I recall the 'local conditions' to be stated in that setting).
Note the very campaign specific nature of these effects. Writing text to fit effects as potentially varied as these are is by necessity vaguely or perhaps broadly stated.
I'm pretty much in total agreement with what blahpers has stated, if you use Wish to duplicate another spell as per one of the bullet points listed in the description of the Wish it is treated as the duplicated spell for saves and SR as is normal for that spell except the DC will be based on that of a 9th level spell i.e. the level of Wish. With this use of Wish it will NOT ignore Dimensional Lock any more than the spell duplicated would which is to say it will not.
School abjuration; Level cleric 8, sorcerer/wizard 8
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Area 20-ft.-radius emanation centered on a point in space
Duration 1 day/level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes
You create a shimmering emerald barrier that completely blocks extradimensional travel. Forms of movement barred include astral projection, blink, dimension door, ethereal jaunt, etherealness, gate, maze, plane shift, shadow walk, teleport, and similar spell-like abilities. Once dimensional lock is in place, extradimensional travel into or out of the area is not possible.
A dimensional lock does not interfere with the movement of creatures already in ethereal or astral form when the spell is cast, nor does it block extradimensional perception or attack forms. Also, the spell does not prevent summoned creatures from disappearing at the end of a summoning spell.
That said Wish also has the following text and effect:
You may try to use a wish to produce greater effects than these, but doing so is dangerous. (The wish may pervert your intent into a literal but undesirable fulfillment or only a partial fulfillment, at the GM's discretion.)
which pretty much opens the door to anything you can imagine if the DM allows it ... including lifting you (and your party etc.) out of an area under Dimensional Lock.
As for this bullet point specifically:
Transport travelers. A wish can lift one creature per caster level from anywhere on any plane and place those creatures anywhere else on any plane regardless of local conditions. An unwilling target gets a Will save to negate the effect, and spell resistance (if any) applies.
Up to your GM. It's certainly reasonable to consider Dimensional Lock as a 'local condition' but it is also rather vague as to what is meant by local condition and whether Dimensional Lock qualifies is up to your GM. Personally I'd make you sweat a bit and allow a well worded Wish to transport you (and others) out of (or into) an area warded by Dimensional Lock.
I do not know of any FAQ clarifying further what is meant by local conditions nor do I find it likely there will be one made if that's what you mean by "officially addressed".
No. You can either control what passes thru the gate or not. If you could then it would say so. Since you don't then the spell either does or does not allow things other than creatures to pass thru. Every indication is normally this is not the case. Lava, negative energy or water pouring into the casters environment would be kind of an important fact to leave out of the description. No indication that the caster may have difficulty actually reaching the portal he creates. No having to wade thru lava, avoid drowning or losing 10 negative levels. All those things are worries once he (and any accompanying creatures) pass thru the portal/gate he's created. While creative (and I could see it working this way) I think it either works this way all the time or not, and not at the casters discretion at least with the Gate spell.
opening a portal to the void of space (in some other plane) thus causing a massive vacuum effect into the portal.
Readying an action and then casting gate directly in front of a creature as it moves so that it moves through into some hostile plane.
I might allow this but there would be some mechanic in place to not make this a 'sure thing'. Most likely it would involve a Reflex save at minimum and that is assuming the wording of the Ready Action worked as well to predict what the creatures path actual will be. Do you have Foresight running, for example, or know the creature is going to be moving thru a certain set of squares (doorway, for example). When I, as the GM, say the creature starts moving where do you place the Gate and is that along its movement path?
Casting it directly under someone thus causing them to fall through the gate.
Again a saving throw is probably involved. See Create Pit.
Closing the Gate while a large creature moves through it so as to cut it in half.
No. The creature is either on one side or another. I view the travel as instantaneous as it would be say thru the Astral when using Teleport. Though again this might be different for a permanent portal or Gate which might very well have some undesirable 'side effects' when used (intentionally or otherwise).
A Full Attack is a Full-Round Action
cant you just use the Heal spell to insta-KO them?
Well yes and no. Yes it's a pretty nasty spell to use on Undead. No it won't insta-KO them. It'll do 10 damage/level up to 150 damage and the target will get a Will save (which is a good save for Undead creatures). Or go with Mass Heal which raises the damage cap to 250 damage and obviously can effect multiple targets as well. With either spell the undead cannot be brought below 1 hp. Note for comparison sake that 10 damage per level is roughly the equal of saying 3d6 damage (an average of 10.5) per level so even if the target undead make the save they are still taking more damage than if hit by a Fireball and fail that save. Follow up with something like Sunburst and any undead wobbling about with 1 hp (or otherwise heavily damaged) are now destroyed.
Is there way to take command w/o using that command undead feat? Is there something else I can use if im confident in my ability to beat a CL (or casting stat) check.
Probably something along the lines of the previously mentioned Control Undead spell is what you are looking for.
EDIT: Hmmmm the previous post mentions Control Undead ... but the spell they are talking about is Command Undead. Control Undead is 7th level and is more the equivalent of Dominate (whereas Command Undead is 2nd level and parallels Charm rather than Dominate). If the target is non-intelligent you probably want Command Undead, if intelligent then more likely you want to use Control Undead. Keep in mind if you use Command Undead it suffers much the same limitations as using Charm
Okay just to make sure I'm on the same page, are you equating your target getting +5 on the saving throw to you getting a -5 because of these lines in the spell description?
Charm Person text wrote:
This charm makes a humanoid creature regard you as its trusted friend and ally (treat the target's attitude as friendly). If the creature is currently being threatened or attacked by you or your allies, however, it receives a +5 bonus on its saving throw.
Or is their something else I'm still missing?
If you are in the middle of combat (or even intending on starting momentarily) ... well that's not the most opportune time to use charm spells in general. Even if you succeed the target may decide the best course of action is knock you out cold (got break up this fight between his new friend and his old friends somehow), hammer your 'beserk' companion senseless (your target is not his friend and ally) or other wise be fairly unfriendly to your other companions who unlike you are not his 'best buds'. Likewise consider your target. How one of several city watchmen might respond in combat is likely a bit different from how your typical orc bandit is liable to respond when his "friends" start fighting.
What are the best ways at lower levels to hide that you are casting this and to avoid the -5 to your dc?
Do it while in a noisy and crowded location preferable with Still and Silent feats.
Do it while Invisible, from hiding or otherwise with the benefit of concealment or cover.
It may help to have Bluff and or Sleight of Hand depending on your GM.
Have someone or something create a distraction so as to draw attention away from you.
All these methods have quite a bit of GM judgement built in, really comes down to how your GM will run it and what they will allow.
And last raise your spell DC as much as possible ... no point in disguising the fact you've cast a spell if your target becomes aware they have been the subject of a spell when they make the save (even if they don't know the source).
And what -5 are you talking about? The only -5 I see is for an opposition school. The only way to avoid that is to not make it an opposition school.
Trip them and keep on tripping them. They'll keep using a move action to stand up ... or slowly crawl. Either way you win.
Edit: Of course a colossal sized zombie might prove problematic to trip.
Can't access my 3.5 books but after looking at the d20srd.org site I'd guess, at least on my part, it's another slight change between 3.5 rules/text and PF. It merely says under Undead traits:
"No Constitution score." and "Uses its Charisma modifier for Concentration checks." No other mention of Con or Cha in the text
Complete Text from d20srd:
Undead are once-living creatures animated by spiritual or supernatural forces.
An undead creature has the following features.
12-sided Hit Dice.
An undead creature possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
No Constitution score.
Edit: noting the change in Hit Dice type as well ... from d12 to d8
Actually (and this was news to me as well) they do use Charisma instead of Constitution when calculating their Fort saves as well as HP and other special abilities. Bolding mine. Wondering if this is a 3.5 to PF change?
from the Bestiary wrote:
No Constitution score. Undead use their Charisma score in place of their Constitution score when calculating hit points, Fortitude saves, and any special ability that relies on Constitution (such as when calculating a breath weapon's DC).
And here's a quote from the same source on the topic of whether Poly Any Object and Disintegrate work on Undead.
Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless).
Only the phrasing of "nonmagical object" (in the target line of Polymorph Any Object) would seem to leave any wiggle room in interpretation. As long as your undead creature is also a nonmagical object and smaller than 100 cu.ft./level it should work fine.
Edit: bit of self confusion ... the undead does not have to be a nonmagical object. It merely has to satisfy the requirement that the spell also works on objects which I'd interpret as a nonmagical object to be a subclass of objects in general in this case.